Temporary increase of waste acceptance at Ballynagran landfill

On the 11th November 2016 the three Regional Waste Management Plan Offices circulated a communication to all Local Authorities advising of a serious and urgent situation with regard to waste operator’s lack of access to outlets for the disposal of residual and related waste in the period up to the 31st December 2016.

The communication highlights the fact this national shortfall in the availability of municipal residual waste disposal / treatment capacity is primarily due to the recent closure to all 3rd parties of the largest landfill in the Country at Drehid in County Kildare.  Bord na Móna has stated that as the facility approaches year end the company is taking steps to ensure that the facility will only accept waste from Bord na Móna’s own collection service (AES).  The shortfall can also be attributed to a very significant reduction in the amount of waste exported in 2016 compared to previous years.

Over the course of the last week there have been extensive discussions between the various regulatory authorities in seeking solutions to address the difficulties. Such discussions have included the Department of Communications Climate Action & Environment, the EPA, the CCMA, the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices and the Local Authorities.

To prevent or limit potential environmental pollution both Meath and Wicklow County Council have activated the available landfill capacity in Knockharley and Ballynagran under Section 56 of the Waste Management Act 1996. Dublin City Council as lead Authority for the Eastern and Midlands Regional Waste Management Planning Office has also invoked this legislative provision which gives a local authority broad powers to take measures in order to prevent or limit environmental pollution.

In light of the emergency situation the Chief Executives of Meath, Wicklow & Dublin City have exercised this statutory power so that additional waste may be accepted at the Knockharley and Ballynagran Landfills until the end of 2016. An arrangement has been put in place between the Eastern-Midlands Regional Waste Management Plan Office and the operators of the facilities.

The Environmental Protection Agency, on foot of applications received, granted Technical Amendments to the Licences for both facilities which provide for the additional intake of waste between now and year end.

It is also understood that the operator of the Drehid landfill will be in a position to resume accepting waste from the 1st January 2017 with a licensed capacity of 360,000 tonnes for the full year. This, together with other developments next year, including the commissioning of the Waste to Energy facility in Poolbeg, Dublin; the Galway Landfill being fully operational; and continuing waste exports should ensure the availability of adequate capacity to deal with municipal residual and related waste.

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