Dáil Éireann - Volume 378 - 09 March, 1988

Written Answers. - Incinerator Emissions.

52. Mr. Keating asked the Minister for the Environment if he proposes to [2165] introduce legislation to deal with the problem of incineration, particularly in urban areas; whether he considers the guidelines with regard to emissions from incineration plants to be adequate for the protection of health and the environment; if he will make a statement on all aspects of incineration, including the incineration and disposal of medical wastages which can be highly dangerous and toxic; and his views on implementation of the EC directives in this area.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Flynn): Adequate powers exist under the Air Pollution Act, 1987 to allow local authorities to deal with harmful emissions from any source, including incinerators. Under section 24, which is in force, there is a general obligation on all non-domestic premises to use the best practicable means to limit and, if possible, to prevent emissions. Incineration of solid and liquid wastes from new industrial plants will be licensable under Part III of the Air Pollution Act which I intend to bring into operation shortly.

The disposal of waste by incineration, including hospital wastes, also comes within the scope of the European Communities (Waste) Regulations, 1979 or, if applicable, the European Communities (Toxic and Dangerous Waste) Regulations, 1982. These Regulations give effect to Directives 75/442/EEC and 78/319/EEC dealing with general waste and toxic and dangerous waste respectively and they are implemented by the relevant local authority.

While emission limit values have not been specified for any class of premises, local authorities are bound to achieve the air quality standards for smoke and sulphur dioxide, lead and nitrogen dioxide prescribed in the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Air Quality Standards) Regulations, 1987 (S.I. No. 244 of 1987). These are based on criteria developed at international level for the protection of human health and the environment.