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Irish Times - 17-02-06
Incinerator firm seeks to expand capacity by 33%
Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Indaver has lodged a planning application to increase the amount of rubbish it can burn at its Co Meath incinerator by a third - even though the plant has not yet even been built.

The company's application, submitted to Meath County Council and the Environmental Protection Agency, will raise the incineration limits from 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes.

A 450-page environmental impact statement (EIS), commissioned by the company, claims the extra incineration will pose no danger to the local community in Carranstown, outside Duleek.

"All information on the proposed municipal waste incinerator suggest that there will be no deleterious effect on human health either in the immediate vicinity or further away, in the short term or in the longer term," said Dr Martin Hogan, a medical expert specialising in occupational medicine.

Dr Edward Porter, AWN Consulting Engineers, who has carried out work for the company dealing with its application to build an incinerator in Ringaskiddy, said tough air quality standards would not be exceeded as a result of operating under either maximum or abnormal operating conditions.

Dr Fergal Callaghan, from the same consulting company, said the increased limits would have "no significant impact on dioxin and furan intake" for even the most at-risk individuals.

In a statement last night, Jackie Keaney, Indaver's project manager for Carranstown, said the assessments demonstrated that the plant would not impact on human health, air quality standards, dioxin levels in the vicinity or food produce.

The planning application and the EIS can be inspected by the public at the Meath County Council's offices in Duleek from 9.30am to 5.00pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and from 10.30am to 5.00pm on Tuesdays.

Indaver strongly lobbied the Government in 2004 to change the planning laws to allow them to burn waste at its proposed Meath incinerator from counties outside Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

During a series of meetings in 2004 with the then minister for the environment, Martin Cullen and senior officials, Indaver strongly objected to rules barring it from burning rubbish from any other areas at Carranstown.

In a presentation in January 2004 to Mr Cullen, the company said it had "major difficulties" with the restrictions because they would increase their costs and allow their customers "to dictate terms".

Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd said locals had conceded that they could not stop the incinerator opening: "It is a democracy. They are entitled to seek planning permission to extend it, unfortunately."

Though the Government once spoke about 10 incinerators, Mr O'Dowd said he had always believed that there had never been any intention to have more than three of them: "That's what's going to happen.

"The Meath incinerator will burn everything in the northeast and the north of Dublin, and Poolbeg is designed to burn everything in the south of Dublin. The burden is not being shared equally," Mr O'Dowd said.

© The Irish Times

     

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