An aerial view of the giant Indaver waste to energy plant just outside Duleek.

Plan to burn hazardous waste in Duleek

Controversial proposals to burn light hazardous waste at the Carranstown incinerator near Duleek - and increase tonnage and operating times at the new plant - is likely to cause huge concern in the local community. Indaver Ireland has indicated that it will be applying for planning permission and a licence to treat light industrial hazardous waste such as paint cans and empty contaminated packaging, as well as increasing capacity and extending operating times. The proposals have been met by concern locally and the No Incineration Alliance said it would be seeking urgent engagement with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on the matter. Spokesman Pat O'Brien said he was gravely concerned at the proposals, but not surprised. "We have always had the fear that night would follow day and this would happen. They assured us the plant wasn't designed to burn hazardous waste, but now they are proposing to do that. If there is hazardous waste, there will be hazardous emissions," he claimed. The company's newsletter, which is circulated to the local community, says that currently the majority of light industrial hazardous waste is sent abroad and is treated using the same grate furnace technology that is now available at Carranstown. "The facility in Meath could treat this waste at a lower cost to industry and local authorities. This, in turn, will make the north-east region a more attractive location for industry," the newsletter states. Indaver also intends to seek permission to increase capacity by an additional 10 per cent (20,000 tonnes). According to a spokesperson, as a result of the expansion, a further potential €25,000 will be added to the community fund. The company's proposals also include an increase in acceptance hours for waste to 24 hours a day. "It is not the intention to accept high volumes of waste outside of the current hours; however, more flexibility is required to avoid unnecessary gluts in deliveries to the facility at key times in the morning and evenings for waste collectors." A number of other proposed changes in the planning application include permanent road signage to improve safety on the road, the construction offices and provision of warehousing. Deputy Dominic Hannigan said the proposals would have to be very carefully assessed and he would encourage experts to make their views known on the plans. "We need to be very careful of any proposal that invovles hazardous waste," he said. Local county councillor, Seamus O'Neill, said residents would be very concerned at the proposals which would allow the plant accept waste on a 24-hour basis. Cllr Wayne Harding said he, too, would be very concerned about any increase in tonnage or at the burning of hazardous waste and would be looking at the application closely. The plant is currently in the process of being commissioned. This involves checking and testing all the systems. The first waste delivery will be made to the site next month at a reduced level initially. During safety protection tests next month, there will be heavy steam and alarms over a two- to three-day period as testing is carried out. Planning permission for the development was granted by Meath County Council in 2001 and, the following year, Bord Pleanála heard a large number of objections during a lengthy oral hearing, but gave the project the green light in 2003. A further planning application to expand the incinerator was approved by Bord Pleanála in 2007 and construction began soon afterwards. When the incinerator was first mooted by Indaver, it met with a wave of opposition as more than 4,000 individual objections to the original planning application were made and a petition against the plan was signed by 27,000 people. Meanwhile, the Community Fund to which Indaver will make a donation for every tonne that is accepted into the facility, is taking applications for 2011/2012. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is Friday 30th September 2011 at 5pm and should be returned to: Paul Monahan, Administrative Officer, Meath County Council, Duleek One Stop Shop.