Plans for a controversial new superdump in north Dublin were today given the green light.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a licence to Fingal County Council to develop the 300,000 tonnes-per-year landfill and recycling site at Nevitt in Lusk.
The EPA said it was satisfied the facility will not adversely affect human health or the environment.
The licence contains more than 250 individual conditions, which includes installing odour control measures.
Green Party TD Trevor Sargent and local residents have strongly opposed the plans over fears it would damage their quality of life and the horticultural industry in the area.
An Bord Pleanala previously approved the scheme, but ruled the dump could take a maximum of 300,000 tonnes of waste annually – down from the 500,000 tonnes applied for.
The EPA ruled that only pre-treated waste may be landfilled at the facility, with strict controls on all emissions put in place.
It also stated that any leachate that drains from the landfill, and landfill gases, shall be collected and treated.
“A wide range of environmental monitoring and assessment, including groundwater monitoring, shall be completed on an ongoing basis, both throughout the life of the landfill and after closure,” it said.
Mr Sargent said the go-ahead was a headache for residents living in the vicinity of the superdump.
“More widely, my priority is to ensure the water sources are protected and that food standards are maintained to a very high level,” said the former minister for food.
“The Fingal region supplies over 50% of the country’s vegetables.”
Campaigner Declan White, of the Nevitt/Lusk Action Group, vowed that residents would continue to keep up the fight against the scheme.
He also criticised environmental chiefs for not personally informing eight families – whose properties are subject to compulsory purchase orders – about granting the licence.
He said his brother John, who faces losing his home, is devastated.
“The EPA should really have sent someone around to speak to these people yesterday, but they heard it on the news,” said Mr White.
“It’s a disgraceful way to hear bad news. They didn’t even have the guts to say it in person to them.”
Mr White also maintained the European Commission has launched an investigation into the project.
He claimed it was questioning an environment impact statement which did not include underground wells.
“Commercial wells are protected by European and national law so they should have been included in this multi-million euro study and they were not,” he added.
“The horticulture industry, that delivers food around Ireland, is concentrated over this underground water supply.
“Farmers use this water to irrigate and process food.
“They started their investigation so we have to wait and see what they come up with.”
In reply, the EPA said all third parties had to be notified of its decision on the same day, with the report due to arrive in each family home by post during the day.
A spokeswoman also stressed experts had fully investigated the issue of underground wells during oral hearings.
Fingal County Council said that under the waste management plan for Dublin, only 16% of rubbish created in the region will end up in the landfill.
A spokeswoman dismissed claims that the Government, EPA, An Bord Pleanala and Fingal Council were colluding to give the dump the green light.
“Fingal County Council rejects this accusation absolutely. We have fully complied in an open and transparent way with the legal processes required to gain permission for a development of this kind,” she said.