Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Gormley launches Consultation on Draft Waste Policy

Mr. John Gormley, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, has launched a public consultation on a Draft Statement of Waste Policy.

The Minister said the Draft Policy was intended to map the future of waste management for the next decade and beyond.

“The fundamental aim of the new draft policy is to protect the environment, reduce costs for householders and businesses - while, at the same time, promoting job creation and innovation in the waste industry,” Minister Gormley said. “Waste is not a problem that has to be buried or burned. Waste is a resource that can create jobs, improve competitiveness and enhance prosperity.”

Last November, the Minister launched a report underpinning the major review of waste management policy. The report, commissioned by the Minister on foot of a commitment in the Programme for Government, examined all aspects of waste management policy - from prevention and minimisation to the management of residual waste. The report was compiled by a group of Irish and international consultants led by Dr. Dominic Hogg of Eunomia Research and Consulting.

“This is the next step in developing a resource-based and sustainable waste policy for Ireland. By providing for a strong competitive waste industry, I believe we will see delivery of a cost-effective service and high levels of environmental performance," said the Minister.

Minister Gormley said that the three key objectives of the proposed policy were -

* to ensure that the environment is protected and enhanced;
* to ensure that the cost of waste services are driven down for consumers and businesses - while, at the same time, improving the quality of those services - and
* to provide the policies, incentives and flexibilities that will enable waste firms to continue to invest and innovate in delivering new technologies and additional jobs in the waste sector.

Key elements of the policy include targets to reduce residual waste levels available for landfill and incineration, additional levies for landfill and incineration and new standards for the types of services consumers should expect.

"This new draft waste policy is ambitious and it will have consequences. It will create jobs and enhance environmental protection - but, I have to be clear that it will inevitably have consequences for the size and location of residual waste infrastructure.

“The policy decisions which will be taken by Government at the end of this process will affect everyone, so I look forward to receiving a wide variety of views as part of the consultation process.”

The Minister also launched draft Regulations which would see a phased introduction of the provision of food waste collections for households. It is proposed that all authorised waste collectors would have to provide such a collection service for the main cities by July of next year, with the service being rolled out to other urban areas by January 2012.

“These draft regulations are another step in ensuring Ireland is ready to meet its EU obligations for the diversion of biodegradable waste away from landfill,” commented the Minister.

A third consultation was also opened by the Minister, as he reopened the consultation on an Environmental Report, prepared according to Strategic Environmental Assessment requirements, to inform the policy making process for waste management in respect of a proposed Section 60 policy direction on a proposed cap to incineration capacity as a proportion of municipal waste arisings.

The Minister explained that he was reopening the consultation to allow those who had made earlier submissions - and others - to provide their views in light of the publication of both the report underpinning the International Review of Waste Policy and of the publication of the Draft Statement of Waste Policy.

“I have always championed the role of public consultation in the policy-making process and this is why I am encouraging all sectors to participate in this important consultation,” concluded the Minister.

All three consultations will be open for receipt of submissions until 1 October 2010.

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