The body representing a group of seven councils across the North West has recommended plans for an incinerator in Strathfoyle to deal with residual municipal waste and avoid huge EU fines over coming decades should be binned.
The North West Regional Waste Managment Group (NWRWMG)’s joint committee met on Wednesday (March 19) and said it was scrapping the plans for the £500m waste project due to uncertainty over its delivery.
A spokesperson warned that this could mean ratepayers will be subject to huge EU fines for landfill diversion breaches in future.
A spokesperson said: “The NWRWMG’s Joint Committee has agreed to recommend to the Group’s constituent Councils that they do not continue with the procurement of the North West Region Waste Infrastructure Project to deliver new waste infrastructure for the treatment of residual (black bin) waste.
“The recommendation was made due to the degree of uncertainty surrounding the project and question marks over the potential for successful delivery of the project in accordance with the appointment business case and the original final tender submission.”
Last October the Sentinel reported how the NWRWMG felt a failure to reduce landfilling over the next six years could result in European fines and negatively affect human health in Londonderry.
An environmental assessment accompanying the North West Waste Management Plan (WMP) 2006-2020 (August 2013) last year warned: “If the NWRWMG councils cannot meet their recycling and recovery targets there is the potential for fines to be handed down from the EU, which would in turn mean less money within the regional and national economy.
“This could then have negative impacts upon population and human health within the NWRWMG region and potentially Northern Ireland as a whole.”
This has been reiterated today (Thursday, March 20) by the NWRWMG spokesperson who stated: “It was concluded that continuing with this uncertainty placed Councils in a position where it would be difficult to plan adequately to ensure that future waste management obligations were met under the EU Waste Framework Directive.
“In addition, continuing with the project would involve considerable additional cost to the public purse with no guarantee of a successful outcome.
“The Joint Committee is very disappointed that it has had to make this recommendation, but has done so in the interests of all its stakeholders, including ratepayers and Councils.
“The recommendation will now be presented to member Councils for their consideration, and the final outcome will be announced when all seven Councils have made their decision.
“Pending that decision the NWRWMG will continue to work with its constituent Councils to develop solutions to manage the area’s residual waste and ensure ongoing compliance with EU, national and regional waste targets.”