ESRI at odds with department over waste review

THE ESRI has found itself on a collision course with the Department of the Environment after the think-tank described the department’s waste management review as “flawed,” adding that it failed to create jobs, enhance competitiveness and meet EU Landfill Directive targets.

In response, the department said the ESRI report, commissioned by Dublin City Council, contains a “number of errors which would have a significant bearing on its main recommendations”.

The council is already at loggerheads with Environment Minister John Gormley over its planned 600,000-tonne incinerator at Poolbeg, which the department says is too big.

The ESRI report, An Economic Approach to Municipal Waste Management Policy in Ireland, is published today.

Its authors say that waste management markets in Ireland aren’t working as well as they should by failing to handle greenhouse gas emissions properly and failing to introduce a tendering system for domestic waste disposal.

The study also calls a system to allow for the trading of landfill rights and for a much lower incinerator levy than set down by Eunomia’s International Review of Waste Management Policy.

Mr Gormley had said he expected the incineration level to be approximately €20-€38 per tonne while the ESRI suggested an urban incineration levy of a maximum of €5.07 per tonne. The ESRI suggested a €44-€55 levy for landfill while the minister set this levy at €50 by 2011 and €75 in 2012.

One of the report’s authors, Paul Gorecki, has questioned whether Eunomia’s review “provides a coherent and feasible basis on which to develop waste policy. Arbitrary limits on incineration and consequent expansion of MBT have no place in waste management policy.

“The international review’s setting of residual waste levies is flawed, suffering from both double regulation and double counting, with the result that some of the proposed levies are much higher than is appropriate.”

Dominic Hogg, author of the international review, said there were serious mistakes in the ESRI report, including false inclusion of incineration in the emissions trading scheme and the use of incineration emissions figures that were too low by a factor of 10.

The author of the Dublin Region Thermal Treatment Needs Assessment report, Conor Walsh, added that the “the ESRI has serious questions to answer about the data used in this report”.


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