COUNCILS outside the North West are being urged to bring their waste to the proposed incinerator at Campsie, the Sentinel can reveal.
Answering questions from this newspaper, the North West Region Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) admitted that extra waste may be needed to “maximise” the potential of the proposed gasification plant at Campsie.
The admission has ignited fears that the city - and the Maydown and Strathfoyle areas in particular - will become a major dumping ground for areas across Northern Ireland and border regions.
The admission came yesterday when the Sentinel contacted the NWRWMG after being told letters had been sent to other council districts other than the seven backing the gasification project, which are Derry City Council, Ballymoney Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council, Magherafelt District Council, Moyle District Council, and Strabane District Council.
The Sentinel asked NWRWMG to confirm that other councils had been approached with a view to disposing of waste in Londonderry, and whether this move was based on there not being enough projected waste in the region to pay for the investment in the gasification plan.
A spokesman responded: “In common with most industrial facilities, the North West plant is most efficient at full capacity so to maximise value for money for the public authorities involved, North West Group is in discussions with its neighbouring authorities.
“While most of the plant is needed by the North West Councils, any additional tonnage of waste from neighbouring Councils would increase the throughput and maximise the generation of renewable energy. As the procurement has not yet been completed the details remain commercially confidential.”
A statement from opponents, Zero Waste North West (ZWNW) said over 5,000 people in the region have signed a petition against the proposal, “urging these agencies to change direction in their waste management policy in order to adopt a ‘Zero Waste’ strategy”.
It added: “ NWRWMG are part of a network of agencies and businesses involved in the local waste management sector.
“Thankfully now a number of sources within that network have come forward to provide us with alarming evidence.
“These revelations support our stance that Derry City Council and NWRWMG are on the wrong path.
“Such is our alarm that ZWNW now believes that full transparency on the part of Derry City Council and the NWRWMG would expose the extent of the mess we are in, and only by confronting the mess can we find a way forward out of it. We will be submitting a series of Freedom of Information requests to flush out the details.”
It said its information showed there would not be sufficient waste within the region “to feed the gasification plant”.
It added: “The solution adopted by NWRWMG however has not been to think again but to solicit waste from other regions.
“The only way that the proposed incinerator can be financially viable is if Strathfoyle and the region becomes a dumping ground for the north and beyond. This would have dire consequences for the environment and for local health and well being.”