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Poolbeg contract extended for eight months

The contract between Dublin City Council and Covanta Energy to build a €350m (£291m) energy-from-waste (EfW) facility at Poolbeg has been extended until May 2011.

The original agreement between the two parties, which was signed on 4 September 2007, was valid for three years, meaning it expired at the weekend amid speculation that it would be terminated.

However, at a meeting held on Monday 6 September, council manager John Tierney confirmed that the contract will be extended for a further eight months to give more time to consider the best way forward.

A substantial amount of money has been spent on the project so far, with further money expected to be claimed through compulsory purchase orders by those who have had their land bought for development.

A statement issued by the council said: “The Dublin authorities, and its partners in the project, believe that this project is essential to deal with Dublin’s waste for many years to come, and that it provides good value for money for the taxpayers, as certified by the National Development Finance Agency.

“It will contribute to reducing our carbon footprint, and will provide electricity generation and district hearing for a large area of the city.”

A statement issued by Covanta on the matter said: “It is a matter for the Irish Government, and the country’s taxpayers, to decide if they want to base their waste management policy on a tried and tested approach such as energy–from-waste, that has been proven to be good value for money, or a hastily concocted alternative that has previously proven in numerous other locations to be exorbitantly expensive and unsustainable.”

Calls by some councillors at Monday’s meeting for the council to publish the contract with Covanta have thus far been refused on the grounds that the information is commercially sensitive.

Construction of the Poolbeg incinerator began in December 2009 but has been suspended since May due to a lack of a Foreshore licence. It is now unlikely that the incinerator will be completed before 2014.

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