Dublin City Council seeks more time over Poolbeg incinerator deal

Saturday 01 September 2012 10.20
The planned Poolbeg incinerator project will cost an estimated €350m
The planned Poolbeg incinerator project will cost an estimated €350m

Dublin City Council officials have sought more time to finalise the Poolbeg incinerator project with waste company Covanta.

The deadline for contractual agreement was set for today with construction works to begin by 5 November.

However the council announced that more time is needed for Covanta to arrange finance to build the facility, due to the situation with international financial markets.

The planned facility would could handle 600,000 tonnes of waste and cost an estimated €350m to build.

The council has said a new start date and commencement date will be announced within six weeks.

Local Labour TD Kevin Humphreys called on the city council to walk away from the deal which has already cost €80m.

He said local authorities no longer have the power anymore to direct waste to the incinerator and that the taxpayer could be liable for up to €120m if Poolbeg does not attract enough customers because of a “put or pay” clause in the contract.

Separately, Dublin City Council is proposing to slash developers contributions to infrastructure by over 25% even though the present rate does not cover the cost of public infrastructure.

Developers are required to pay towards the cost of providing roads, drainage and open spaces for both residential and commercial constructions.

The pre-existing rate was left unchanged for the 2010 to 2017 scheme at €156 per square metre of residential development and €127 for commercial.

This is despite the fact that the cost to the city council of providing infrastructure is calculated at €185 and €412 respectively.

Now, because of falling house prices, the council is proposing to cut the rates to €127 and €93 respectively.

Assistant city manager Declan Wallace states in a report to councillors that the existing rates were accepted in the knowledge that there was a funding gap.

In proposing the reduction he quoted consultants as saying that the reduction could stimulate economic activity and lead to an overall increase in income for local authorities.

The reductions would save builders over €4,100 for a 100 square metre home and over €3,300 for a commercial building.

The proposed cuts would apply from next January until 2015 if passed by councillors following public consultation.

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