EU Environment Minister Stavros Dimas, asked to comment on a similar statement by John Ahern of Indaver, on RTÉ radio, said last October: “The (EU) commission cannot impose fines on member states — such fines can only be imposed by the European Court of Justice as a result of an infringement case.”
European legislation, including the recently revised waste framework directive, does not prescribe any quotas for waste incineration, nor does it oblige member states to build waste incinerators if they do not wish to.
Member states are obliged to meet the requirements of proper waste management enshrined in EU legislation. They can meet these requirements without constructing incinerators.
In particular, directive 2006/12/EC requires member states to take the necessary measures to ensure waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health and without using processes or methods which could harm the environment.
The conclusion that EU waste legislation obliges, or will oblige, member states to build incinerators is, however, incorrect and appears to be a misinterpretation of the obligations properly to manage Irish waste.
Human health is a “must-have”.