A proposed new super-incinerator in Maydown hasn’t secured the necessary consents, permits, licences or authorisations to enable it to operate yet.
Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan said the proposed gasification plant would be one of the first energy from waste plants in Northern Ireland licensed to take in Residual Derived Fuel (RDF) - or fuel made from the residue of Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT).
Mr Durkan said: “Three proposed energy from waste facilities which could take in RDF have secured planning permission, at Brickkiln in Derry, at Bombardier in the Harbour Estate, Belfast, and Lisburn Energy Recovery Ltd in Lisburn.
“None of them has as yet begun construction or secured the necessary consents, permits, licences and authorisations to enable them to operate.
“Each of these three facilities would comprise a combination of MBT and gasification, with the gasification element of each facility having the capacity to take 70,000 tonnes of RDF per annum.”
The Environment Minister explained that a review of Northern Ireland’s infrastructural requirements in 2012 confirmed a need for sufficient new public waste infrastructure to process 116,000 to 142,000 tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste and 71,000 to 87,000 tonnes of Biodegradable Municipal Waste by 2020.
If this is not achieved Northern Ireland will be in breach of its European Union obligations.
Mr Durkan stated: “One of the key assumptions informing these figures is that there will be between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes of merchant capacity capable of treating municipal waste delivered in Northern Ireland by 2020.”
Last June former Minister Alex Attwood insisted the proposed new waste plant at Maydown was a gasification facility and not an incinerator despite the fact an ash pit will be needed to collect residual waste: the word incinerate literally means ‘reduce to ashes.’
However, in July 2013, Mr Attwood acknowledged in response to an Assembly Question: “Any facility involving the thermal treatment of wastes is defined as an ‘incineration plant’ for the purposes of the EU Waste Incineration Directive; that is, to ensure that emissions from all such facilities are regulated to the same high standards.”