EPA issues licence for waste to energy incinerator at Poolbeg Peninsula, Dublin 4.

Date released: Dec 02 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a licence to Dublin City Council, to operate a non-hazardous waste incinerator at Pigeon House Road, Poolbeg Peninsula, Dublin 4.

The licence provides for the operation of an incinerator to burn non-hazardous waste and to recover energy in the form of steam and electricity for export to the national grid, and for the transfer of heat to a municipal district-heating scheme, once such a scheme is available.  The maximum annual intake will be 600,000 tonnes of residual non-hazardous waste.

The decision contains more than 216 individual conditions relating to the environmental management, operation, control and monitoring of the proposed facility.

Dublin City Council, as licensee, will be responsible for the operation and management of the facility.  The EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement will monitor and enforce the licence through environmental audits, unannounced site visits and systematic checks on emissions.

The decision to issue the licence is in line with recommendations made in the Chairperson’s report of the oral hearing held in Dublin in April this year.  In reaching its decision, the EPA Board of Directors considered the objections and submissions made in relation to the licence as well as the Chairperson’s report.  Arising from the recommendations in the Chairperson’s report, the licence has been strengthened to take account of concerns expressed at the oral hearing.

The EPA is satisfied that operation of the facility, in accordance with the conditions of the licence, will not endanger human health or harm the environment in the vicinity of the facility or over a wider area.

Consistent with existing incinerators in Ireland, the licence has stringent conditions attached for the management, operation, control and monitoring of the proposed facilities.  These conditions meet the highest standards set by the EU Incineration of Waste Directive (2000/76/EC). 

The licence conditions require, amongst other things, that:

  • Best available technology is used for the incineration of waste and abatement of emissions as set out in European Union legislation and guidelines.
  • All emissions limits comply with the EU Directives including Incineration of Waste.
  • Monitoring data on-line, including real-time data of the incinerator combustion chamber temperature and other parameters where feasible, is made available on the Internet.
  • The licensee will undertake extensive communication with communities in proximity to the facilities.
  • The construction of the facility is to be subjected to an independent quality assurance validation report to confirm it is fit-for-purpose prior to start up of incineration operations.
  • Emissions of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are strictly controlled and monitored such that they meet emission limit values set in EU Directive on Incineration of Waste.
  • Only non-hazardous residual waste (waste from households and similar waste from commercial, industrial and institutional establishments) can be accepted for disposal at the facility. Hazardous waste cannot be accepted at the facility.
  • Senior management will have appropriate expertise in managing incinerators. 
  • The environmental performance of the facility is reported on a regular basis to the EPA and this information is made available to the local community.

A two-month period during which a judicial review can be sought has now commenced.

All related documentation is available for download from the EPA web site. 

View the licence and the reports.

Further information:  EPA Press Office, Niamh Leahy/Alma Hynes, 053-917 0770

Note to Editors:

How the licensing process works:

  • Given the complexity and scale of some waste activities, the EPA provides pre-application clarification and consultation so that applications are as complete as possible.
  • Once received, experts from the Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use rigorously assess the application.
  • Extra information may be required from the applicant during this assessment.
  • When the application is deemed complete, and has been fully assessed, the Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use makes a recommendation on the application to the Board of Directors of the EPA.
  • The Board assesses the recommendation, together with the application and all submissions, before making a decision.
  • The Board’s decision, in the form of a Proposed Decision (PD), is notified to the applicant, all third parties who made a submission on the application and other statutory bodies/agencies.
  • There follows a 28-day period when any person can submit an objection and request an oral hearing.  They can also make submissions on other objections.
  • All objections and submissions on objections are considered by a Technical Committee of the EPA, or through an oral hearing process.
  • Any person who lodged a valid objection, as well as the applicant, and the local authority (where relevant) has an automatic right to attend and participate fully at a hearing.  All hearings are open to the public.  Members of the public can participate in the proceedings where they have lodged a valid objection or with the expressed approval of the Chairperson.  
  • On completion of an oral hearing, the Chairperson will submit a report of the hearing to the EPA.  In this report, the Chairperson must make a recommendation to grant or refuse a licence.  Where the recommendation is to grant a licence, the Chairperson must outline the recommended conditions to be attached to the licence.
  • The recommendations arising, together with the objections and submissions, are considered by the EPA Board of Directors before making a final decision to either refuse a licence or to grant a licence, with or without conditions.
  • The EPA is debarred in law from granting a waste licence unless it is satisfied, inter alia, that the activity concerned, carried out in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to a licence, will not cause environmental pollution.

 Chronology of application for Poolbeg incinerator licence (Reg. No. W0232-01)

Applicant  Dublin City Council
Address of facility  Pigeon House Road, Poolbeg Peninsula, Dublin 4
Application received  10 July 2006
Submissions  A total of 18 valid submissions were received from third parties
Proposed decision issued  21 November 2007
Closing date of   objections  18 December 2007
Objections received  14 valid objections
Oral hearing commenced  14 April 2008 at the Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street, Dublin and concluded on 1 May having sat for 10 days and heard 45 presentations from all parties
Oral hearing report submitted   3 September 2008
Final decision issued  1 December 2008