Limerick councillors pass orders to burn out waste incineration

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Irish Cement’s €10m plan to develop in Mungret has attracted as huge amount of opposition

Irish Cement’s €10m plan to develop in Mungret has attracted as huge amount of opposition

LIMERICK councillors have unanimously passed five orders which they hope will stop developments similar to Irish Cement’s €10m plans in the future.

At a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council this Monday, members from all parties passed multiple notices of motion tabled by Fianna Fail metropolitan district leader James Collins.

Councillors are bidding to ensure that any further proposals which involve the incineration of hazardous and non-hazardous waste are blocked – and the county  development plan reflects this.

It comes as Irish Cement, under a controversial proposal, plans to switch away from using fossil fuels in the production of cement and instead use solid recovered waste and tyres.

The plans – which are currently before the environmental regulator and An Bord Pleanala – have prompted huge public opposition, with residents concerned about an increase in emissions into the local environment.

For its part, Irish Cement has always maintained its reforms will not lead to this.

As well as seeking to stop future incineration-type developments in the area plan, Cllr Collins asked chief executive Conn Murray to start a new development plan, to include this measure, and also petition the Minister for the Environment Eoghan Murphy to amend the Southern Regional Waste Management Plan, “not to permit any further incineration of hazardous or non-hazardous waste in cement kilns”.

This comes after council bosses said that even if councillors did change the local development plan, it would still be superceded by the southern waste management plan.

“We are serious about prohibiting the incineration of waste in Limerick. We’re not going to take no for an answer. If there are obstacles which are put in our way, whether they are statutory, legal or otherwise, we’re going to do everything in our power to overcome these,” Cllr Collins said.​

Any changes to the development plans will not impact on Irish Cement, as it’s planning application is governed by the blueprint currently in place

Sinn Fein councillor Malachy McCreesh said: “I think there is a general consensus throughout the whole council that incineration of waste material, hazardous or non-hazardous is something which is not required or wanted in Limerick, which is great.”

A spokesperson for council chief executive Mr Murray said: “The waste management plan supercedes the local development plan. The chief executive cannot do something which is deemed not legal by a superior plan. The councillors have asked him for legal advice so he is going to seek it as per the councilllors’ directive.”

A spokesperson for Limerick Against Pollution, set up in opposition to Irish Cement's plans, welcomed the move. “This unanimous cross-party agreement demonstrates Limerick must seek out new alternative to the slow violence to health and well-being that inevitably results from long-term incineration.”