While long-fingering a decision on the contentious Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin city, Environment Minister Phil Hogan said the volume of waste being sent to landfill is “not sustainable”.
The increased charge will be a “deterrent” to the use of landfill and encourage other ways of dealing with the country’s rubbish, the minister said during a Dáil debate on the Environment Bill 2011.
A decision on whether to impose levies on incinerators will be made after Easter. The former government had planned to impose levies in what was seen as an effort by Green Party leader, John Gormley, to oppose the building of the Poolbeg incinerator in his Dublin South East constituency.
That constituency is represented by four Government TDs, and Mr Hogan failed to make clear the position on the incinerator.
The Government has “not completed a review of the Hennessy Report” which deals specifically with the proposal by Dublin City Council and Covanta, the company developing the incinerator in the Ringsend.
“I am awaiting advice from the Attorney General in that regard,” said Mr Hogan.
Fianna Fáil’s Seán Fleming said the issue has “dragged on” and the incinerator “would have gone through long ago” if it had been in any other constituency.
“There were local parish pump politics involving a minister for a particular constituency affecting matters,” he said, asking Mr Hogan to “move matters along, regardless of the outcome.”
Under the proposals, the levy for sending waste to landfill will more than double between now and 2012. From September, it will rise from the current rate of €30 per tonne of waste to €50 a tonne, increasing to €65 in July 2012, and €75 in July 2013.
The cost will apply to private waste companies, which are the dominant form of waste collection in all local authorities outside of Dublin.
“If we did that, the parties opposite would call it another stealth tax. The Irish people will see this for what it is,” Mr Fleming said.
But Mr Hogan said that “by announcing these rates today, I’m providing the waste sector with the certainty that it needs to prepare for the changes these increases will bring.”
He said there were no plans as yet to increase the 22 cent plastic bag levy, but the matter will be kept under review, taking into consideration consumer habits.