Sunday Business Post - 08-01-06
Incinerator firm Indaver Ireland will make a profit of at least €7.5 million extra a year if it is granted a 33 per cent increase in the capacity of an incinerator it has planned for Co Meath.
Last week, Indaver said it would apply for planning permission to process up to 200,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year at the site near Duleek.
Planning permission had previously been granted for up to 150,000 tonnes per year.
If the new planning application is successful, Indaver's Belgian parent firm, Indaver NV, will invest an extra €15 million to €20 million in Ireland.
That would bring the total spending on the Meath complex to €100 million.
Conservative estimates put turnover for the enlarged Meath plant at more than €30 million a year, based on a charge of €150 per tonne.
If the expansion does not go ahead, turnover would be about €22.5 million a year.
Jackie Keaney, a project manager with Indaver, said the company would complete its environmental impact statement for the larger plant before lodging a new planning application.
The application will be lodged “at the end of January at the earliest'‘, she said.
Indaver will then apply to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a licence to treat the additional waste.
Keaney said it would be the end of 2006 before works started on the Meath site, with construction starting in 2007 and the first waste treated in 2009.
Keaney denied claims by Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe, who said last week that Indaver had been planning to increase the size of the Meath plant since 2004.
Keaney said this was “simply not the case'‘.
“We are seeking planning permission now for a larger capacity because it is called for in the proposed Replacement Waste Management Plan for the North East Region, which was published in 2005,” said Keaney.
“If the region wants up to 200,000 tonnes, we are happy to provide it.”
In November 2003, Indaver wrote to then environment minister Martin Cullen, saying it was not asking to handle more than 150,000 tonnes of waste a year, because that would not be in keeping with local waste management plans.
Keaney rejected claims that Indaver's lobbying of the government led to environment minister Dick Roche issuing a policy directive last May allowing incinerators to process waste that is not from their immediate areas.
Indaver's original planning permission included a clause that restricted the company to collecting waste from counties Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan. In the letter to Cullen, Indaver said the clause would prohibit the company from dealing with a large number of local waste collectors that collected waste from areas outside those four counties.
“It would not be possible to operate with such a commercial imbalance,” the letter said.
“Our banks have advised us that it would not be fundable.”
The letter also suggested that Cullen should consider issuing “an advice note or memorandum'‘ to local authorities stressing that “there may be a time when cross-regional cooperation will be required'‘.
Indaver met Cullen in January 2004, but Keaney denied that Indaver used the meeting to lobby the minister.
“Two colleagues and I met the environment minister and two of his officials,” Keaney said.” We met him to discuss general waste management issues.
“We told them we could not build the facility in Meath because of the condition about regions. We met them for an hour, we talked about the condition for five minutes.”
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment