Landfilling waste

The EPA has released a new report on landfill, showing that environmental and nuisance management is much, much better than it used to be. It also contains an action plan to further improve things.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Dara Lynott adds that Ireland is likely to meet its landfill target for 2010 (I disagree) but not after that (I agree) as too little effort is made to provide alternatives to landfill.

Hot air over Poolbeg

As I expected, nothing happened yesterday. Times, Indo, and Examiner have the same story: Neither party walked away from the contract to build an incinerator in Poolbeg; and Minister Gormley continues in his role as leader of the opposition.

Meanwhile, of course, construction has halted — depriving a bunch of people from a job — and fines for breaching the landfill target accumulate.

The deeper issue was mentioned in the Times: ‘[Mr Tierney] said the managers of the four Dublin local authorities had been put in an “impossible position”. They had been given the responsibility by Government to ensure waste policy was implemented but “at the 11th hour complete and utter uncertainty has been created”.’

Long-term investment requires regulatory certainty.

Poolbeg: New spin

In yesterday’s Prime Time, Paul Cunningham revealed that there is a break clause in the contract between DCC and Covanta. The write-up is here, and it is about as informative as the broadcast.

Under certain, unspecified conditions, either party is free to walk away tomorrow. Not having seen the contract, I can only guess that a ministerial campaign against government policy is not among those conditions.

Does this change the calculus of the desirability of incineration of Poolbeg? Two arguments have not changed. We’re still in breach of the landfill directive, and the alternatives to incineration are expensive and will take a long time to plan and build. Two other arguments would change their importance. We may need to pay less compensation to Covanta, but the signal “Ireland: Closed for business” would be louder.

It may of course be that both parties have invested so much already that they have no desire to walk away.

Cue the green trolls.

UPDATE: The Dublin City Council says that RTE’s report is incorrect. IWMA says the taxpayer will pay 2 billion euro for the incinerator.