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Cllr. Donnelly welcomes Minister Gormley’s clarification of waste policy for all planning authorities

3rd June 2009

Department of Environment circular to all planning authorities makes it clear that mechanical and biological treatments, not incineration, are to be the cornerstones of national waste policy in the future

The Green Party’s candidate for the Carrigaline area of Cork County Council and for Passage West Town Council, Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, has welcomed the letter which has been circulated to all planning authorities around the country from the Department of the Environment, which clarifies that waste policy in the country is changing, with the emphasis switching away from incineration towards mechanical and biological treatment. This circular comes in advance of the full review of national waste policy which is currently being undertaken by consultants Eunomia, and which is due to be complete in July.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “This clarification that incineration is no longer a cornerstone of national waste policy, coupled with the recent introduction of an incineration levy comparable to the landfill levy, is highly significant for the planning application currently before An Bord Pleanála for two incinerators at Ringaskiddy. The oral hearing for that application is due to resume next Monday, and surely the message is coming loud and clear from Government that incineration is no longer part of Government policy. Given that when the Ringaskiddy incinerators were granted planning five years ago by An Bord Pleanála it was solely on the basis that it was Government policy, this clarification from Minister Gormley, I think now makes it impossible for the board to reasonably grant planning for the Ringaskiddy incinerators.”

“As well as this circular, and the recent incineration levies, I have seen the text of an order which Minister Gormley will be issuing next week, which in effect reinstates the Proximity Principle. This effectively means that any incinerator or landfill can only accept waste from whichever of the eight waste management regions in which it is situated. The Ringaskiddy incinerators would therefore be only able to accept waste from within County Cork. This really makes them non-viable financially, and so should be another nail in their coffin,” continued Cllr. Donnelly.

Cllr. Donnelly concluded: “With this series of measures introduced by Minister Gormley in recent weeks, I hope it is now patently clear that incineration is no longer a key component of national waste management policy. While an outright ban on incineration is not currently possible due to existing planning permissions in Poolbeg in Dublin, and in Carranstown, Co. Meath, it is now clear that Government policy is heading in that direction. Incineration is so clearly not the way we should be dealing with our waste. A proper waste industry based on reuse, recycling within this country, and mechanical and biological treatments is the only policy that makes any sense, both in terms of economics and the environment.”

 

Full text of Department of the Envrionment circular to planning authorities:

May 2009

Update on progress in respect of implementing the waste management provisions of the Programme for Government

 I am directed by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to update you on progress in respect of implementing the waste management provisions of the Programme for Government, and in particular the commitment to conduct an international review of waste management policy. 

 The Programme for Government makes major commitments in relation to national waste policy. In particular, there is an emphasis on moving away from the high reliance on incineration foreseen in the National Development Plan and reflected in the regional waste management plans for which the local authorities have statutory responsibility, generally operating in regional groupings. In this regard it is intended that there be an increased commitment to the use of alternative technologies, including those known as mechanical and biological treatment.

 The Department’s Statement of Strategy 2008-2010, which is published on the Department’s web site and which was noted by Government in July 2008, states:

 “The new Programme for Government indicates a further development of waste and resource policy in the direction of sustainability, in particular, to move away from mass burn incineration towards alternative technologies and to minimise waste going to landfill, subject to the outcome of the review of the waste management strategy. This major international review being undertaken by the Department will address how best to implement waste prevention and minimisation, and the emergence of new technologies in waste management.”

 Progress on the review of waste management strategy

Consultants have been retained to conduct the study of waste policy options which will underpin the conclusion of the overall review later this year. This work is well advanced and a series of interim reports has been considered by the Review Steering Group. It is considered that the study itself should be concluded on time, July 2009, with policy proposals being brought to Government shortly thereafter.

 Interim policy measures

While this work is on target, it is acknowledged that progress towards meeting Ireland’s targets under the Landfill Directive and the requirements of the recently adopted Waste Framework Directive cannot wait. Therefore the Minister is pressing ahead with key initiatives which are compatible with the overall objectives of the review in order to meet the targets. These include:

  • increase in the landfill levy and the introduction of a levy on incineration;
  • roll-out of brown bin collections;
  • intensifying efforts to promote at source/home composting;
  • supporting small-scale local composting initiatives;
  • encouraging access to waste streams for composting/anaerobic digestion, recycling and other processes high on the waste hierarchy; and,
  • source segregated collection of commercial biowaste.

 The Minister has also initiated a Strategic Environmental Assessment on proposed policy directions to the EPA and local authorities which would (in relation to their functions under the Waste Management Acts and any instruments made thereunder), inter alia, require the recipients to:

  • limit incineration capacity to ensure that waste is not drawn to incineration which could have been dealt with by recycling or other methods higher up the waste hierarchy;
  • refrain from exercising their powers in such a way as to direct waste to landfill or incineration.

 The proposed policy direction is subject to consultation with both the public and all stakeholders, including local authorities.

 The above are interim actions intended to help meet the Landfill Directive targets while implementing the commitments in the Programme for Government. The Minister considers that they are in line with the policies emerging from the overall review.

 Queries in relation to this Circular may be addressed to the undersigned. 

 Yours sincerely,

­­­­­­Michael Layde

Principal Officer – Waste Policy: Review and Regulation

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Cllr. Donnelly welcomes new tougher planning laws

28th May 2009

Gormley’s changes will make it much more difficult for councillor’s to zone too much land for development

The Green Party’s candidate for the Carrigaline area of Cork County Council and for Passage West Town Council, Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, has said that changes to planning laws announced today by Environment Minister John Gormley will allow for better planning in County Cork.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “The Green Party has brought in major changes to the planning system for the first time since tribunals were established to investigate corruption ten years ago.  It will mean better services for our community based on sensible planning, and a clampdown on dodgy developments.”

 “I particularly welcome the aspect of the new legislation which requires a two-thirds majority on the county or city council in order to zone land for development, whether it be for the adoption of the county development plan, or for an amendment to the plan.  This will mean that no one party will be able to rezone land on their own, and should prevent the kind of corruption which Frank Dunlop used, and which has ended up with his imprisonment this week.”

Cllr. Donnelly continued:  “In many ways the downfall of the Celtic Tiger happened in local authorities up and down the country getting too greedy, and zoning too much land for development.  Much of this excess zoned land is what now makes up the toxic assets which have brought our banking system to the brink of collapse, and which have necessitated the setting up of NAMA.  Most of this zoned land will see no development during my lifetime.”

“It was councillors from all the main parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin who voted through these zonings on councils up and down the country.  On many local authorities, it was only the Green Party representatives that opposed the widespread zoning of land for development.  A classic example of this was my Green Party colleague on Monaghan County Council, Vincent P. Martin, who was the only councillor to oppose the adoption of their county development plan, a plan which effectively allowed for the doubling of the population of the county.  Where are all these people going to come from?  They don’t exist, and this sort of overzoning is clearly ridiculous, but it has taken a Green Party Minister for the Environment to sort it out, as all the other main parties are up to their eyeballs in overzoning.  They seem to be too busy looking after their friends and backers to do a sensible job,” concluded Cllr. Donnnelly.

Cllr. Donnelly concluded:  “On a final note, these most welcome changes will promote a much more sustainable level of development, which will help support the economic renewal of the country, and will help break the cycle of boom and bust economics which all the main parties seem hell bent on continuing.”

Cllr. Donnelly welcomes new legislation to regulate management companies

28th May 2009

Green Party candidate for the Carrigaline area of Cork County Council and for Passage West Town Council, Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, has welcomed the introduction of the Multi-Unit Developments Bill which will help regulate management companies. The bill sets out new legislation on service charges, house rules and the resolution of disputes between management companies and apartment owners.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “Over the past decade, we saw a large increase in the building of apartments and small housing estates and the existing legislation under which property management companies currently operate is inadequate to deal with and resolve the various difficulties being experienced by individual apartment owners.”

Cllr. Donnelly continued: “Today’s announcement is a real boost for apartment owners in the Cork area as it provides more security within multi-unit developments. The Bill will improve the management and maintenance of the internal and external common areas in apartment complexes, and specify the calculation of service charges and the holding of annual meetings by management companies. The Bill also includes provisions for the resolution of disputes. These are all issues which have been coming up on the doors again and again.”

For more information see:  www.oireachtas.ie

New noise laws will bring peace to Cork residents, says Cllr. Donnelly

26th May 2009

On the spot fines for nuisance noise will deter boy racers

Minister for the Environment John Gormley today announced details of new laws that will clamp down on nuisance noise. The Green Party’s local election candidate for the Carrigaline electoral area of Cork County Council and for Passage West Town Council, Cllr. Dominick Donnelly welcomed the announcement saying “This will be particularly beneficial to those living in noisy areas or near construction sites. Likewise it will also give relief in neighbourhoods where intruder alarms make life miserable for all.”

The Noise Nuisance Bill is part of the Programme for Government. The bill was approved by Cabinet last week and will go before the Oireachtas this autumn. Launching the bill Minister Gormley said: “The new noise laws will improve the effectiveness of the existing resources available to tackle nuisance noise issues. It will strengthen existing local authority powers and allow for a system of immediate fines both for residential and business offenders.”

Under the current system council officials are not able to take action immediately to stop sources of noise pollution, they can go through the courts but this takes weeks. Authorised officers from local authorities and An Garda Siochana will be given new fast-track powers to take prompt and effective action to deal with intruder alarms when they sound continuously at premises.

Cllr. Donnelly concluded:  “Noise pollution affects nearly everybody and can be a matter of particular concern for those badly affected by boy racers, late night parties, early morning construction work or neighbours with blaring intruder alarms.  This legislation will also be of interest to those of us in Passage West living close to the dockyard, as there have been serious issues with noise pollution there for many years.  The World Health Organisation has said that noise pollution can have serious public health affects including sleep disturbance, auditory and physiological effects. This new bill aims to improve quality of life and allow people inCork to get their well-deserved rest without interruption.”

Cllr. Donnelly welcomes €696,400 funding for recycling in County Cork from the Environment Fund

23rd May 2009

Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, Green Party member of Passage West Town Council and candidate for the Carrigaline area of Cork County Council, has welcomed the announcement from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, of funding for the operating costs of bring banks and civic amenity sites from the Environment Fund. Cork County Council will receive €696,400 out of a total allocation of €6.4 million nationally for the period July to December 2008. This is an increase of €1.4 million over the equivalent period in 2007. The money in the Environment Fund comes from the Plastic Bag Levies and the Landfill Levies.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “It is very welcome news that Minister Gormley has increased the level of funding from the Environment Fund to help local authorities defray the costs of running bring banks and civic amenity sites. With the global market for recyclates suffering from a huge drop in prices currently, it is costing all local authorities significantly more than it used to, to provide bring banks and civic amenity sites. This demonstrates the Government’s determination to support measures to aid the recovery and recycling of waste.”

Cllr. Donnelly continued: “I hope that Cork County Council will now use this increased funding to remove the gate fee of €3 for the civic amenity sites which they imposed earlier this year. This gate fee is proving to be a huge disincentive for the public to do the right thing, and recycle as much of their waste as they possibly can. In these times of economic constraint on many families, it is vitally important that they do not incur extra costs in order to recycle their waste in the correct way. It is vital that Cork County Council removes the €3 gate fee for civic amenity sites right away.”

Cllr. Donnelly welcomes An Bord Pleanála decision to grant Harbour Cat Ferries planning permission in Passage West and Monkstown

20th May 2009

Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, Green Party member of Passage West Town Council and candidate for the Carrigaline area of Cork County Council, has welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for Harbour Cat Ferries for their landing stations at Passage West and Monkstown.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “It is great news for the harbour communities that Harbour Cat Ferries has now got planning permission for its landing stations at Passage West and Monkstown. I hope that the service can get up and running soon, following their previous planning permissions for their landing stations at Cobh, Crosshaven and in the City at Horgan’s Quay. While some concerns have been expressed by members of the community about the proposed service, I think it will prove to be a very valuable service to the community. Passage West Rowing Club had expressed particular concerns, in the fear that they will lose the part of the river in which they row to the jetty for the ferry. I am sure that with proper consultation, any issues can be satisfactorily resolved. An Bord Pleanála’s inspector has recommended that a river usage management plan be put in place, and that would be a very welcome development.”

Cllr. Donnelly continued: “I first put down a motion to Passage West Town Council seeking a waterbus service such as this about four years ago. However none of the statutory bodies wished to pursue it, and it fell to a private operator to get the service up and running. It will prove to be vitally important in the future to have a variety of transport options available, as cars will become more and more expensive to run due to the rising price of oil as it starts to run out. Hopefully this will be the start of Cork Harbour’s road to achieving its potential as the national centre for heritage, tourism and culture it should be.”

The best way to help the economy is for people to buy Irish in Irish owned shops, says Cllr. Donnelly

19th May 2009

Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, Green Party member of Passage West Town Council and candidate for Cork County Council, urges all consumers to help the Irish economy by buying Irish products, particularly food products, in Irish owned shops.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “From meeting many people working in the food industry as I go around canvassing, there is obviously huge pressure being put on this vital sector of our economy by the current recession. There is a huge temptation for consumers to go out and buy the cheapest products they can get, whatever the quality and wherever they have come from. People must understand that when they buy foreign produced food in foreign owned shops, most of that money is effectively leaving the Irish economy. However if they buy Irish made food is Irish owned shops, all of that money is staying in the Irish economy, which benefits us all.”

Cllr. Donnelly continued: “There is huge pressure being put on Irish owned shops and food producers by cheap imported food at the moment. Many of the large retailers, which are still highly profitable, are using the recession as an excuse to squeeze the margins of the Irish food producers. In the long term the only ones to gain from this will be their own shareholders, not the Irish consumers. For our own long term good, we must resist the temptation to save a few euros in the short term, as if the Irish food industry goes into decline, the effect on the Irish economy will be colossal, and that would have a very negative effect on all our pockets. It is vitally important that we secure the profitability of the Irish food and farming sectors, with all the hundreds of thousands of jobs within that sector, by buying quality Irish food in Irish owned shops, wherever we possibly can.”