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EPA Conference - “Towards 2020: The Environment in Ireland’s Future”

The EPA held their annual Conference in Dublin recently. The conference “Towards 2020: The Environment in Ireland’s Future” was organized by the EPA and the Department of the Environment and took place at the Burlington Hotel Conference Centre on the 3rd and 4th of September, 2007.

“The EPA’s invitation to Dr Dominick Hogg to address the largest conference on environmental policy and waste management is hopefully the beginning of a process to look seriously at Ireland’s waste management requirements for the next 20 years, a CHASE spokeswoman said yesterday.”

Dr. Hogg is one of the authors of the most recent report on waste management in Ireland, commissioned by Greenstar, one of the largest waste firms in the State. The company had no part in drafting the reports findings or conclusions.

The report claims Ireland needs to develop an alternative to the incinerator proposals or it will face fines running into millions of euro for failing to meet EU waste targets. It also warns that the way the waste business is regulated could act as a barrier to private firms investing in facilities around the state.

Dr Dominick Hogg, the chief author, said there was an over emphasis on incinerators in local and national plans. He said the economies of scale meant that large volumes of waste were needed before incineration becomes economically viable. The requirement for large volumes of waste runs the risk of crowding out recycling in Ireland’s battle to meet EU targets.

According to the report, the Republic will have to meet stringent EU targets on reducing the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill. It recommends that smaller facilities which provide mechanical and biological treatments should be examined as alternatives to incineration and landfill. Such plant, which are popular in Germany, Austria and Italy, remove recyclable and biological materials through mechanical and biological means, with residual waste transferred primarily to modern landfill.

He calls into question the superiority of incineration over landfill and states that the environmental costs of incineration are higher than landfill when one takes into consideration air emissions, dis-amenity effects and heath risks.

His report agrees with the Oireachtas report in September 2006 which calls for a rethink on the policy of mass incineration and the need to look at the alternative technologies that would allow Ireland to lead the way in innovative thinking in modern waste management and out-perform our EU colleagues, as we have done with the smoking and plastic bag levy.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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