Re-Gen MD endorses Infrastructure Minister’s decision on the ARC21 planning application
Joseph Doherty, Managing Director at Re-Gen Waste, said, “I welcome the Infrastructure Minister’s announcement on the planning application for the incinerator at Mallusk. I believe that increased targets in recycling, technological innovation, capacity in the current system and changes in Government policy mean that there is no need for the incinerator proposed by arc21 with such a large capacity.
“The Environment Strategy which Edwin Poots, Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, approved on 24 March sets ambitious recycling targets for Northern Ireland. For example, the recycling of drinks containers is to increase from 70 per cent to 90 per cent by 2028, packaging recycling is to increase from 60 per cent to 78 per cent by 2030, and the overall UK recycling target is 76 per cent by 2030. These targets are welcomed by Re-Gen Waste especially as they are linked to UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“There have been tremendous developments in recycling over the last 5-10 years and Re-Gen has significant plans to make products from recyclables in the future. Our in-house R&D Team is working on paper, glass and plastic projects that will bolster jobs, investment and economic activity in Newry.
“Re-Gen isn’t against Energy from Waste facilities. On the contrary, we are proud that we can manufacture refuse derived fuel for export and will continue to sell material to effective combined heat and power plants in Norway and Sweden, until local recycling techniques are developed to recover this material. We’ve carried out extensive research on the carbon cost per tonne of transporting fuel. The costs are more than offset by the very high level of energy recovered in the highly advanced plants in Scandinavia. Despite suggestions to the contrary, this solution is both environmentally responsible in terms of CO2 emissions and provides a cost effective solution when compared with the arc21 Waste to Energy plant.
“We believe that there is greater scope for innovation by keeping the material in shorter contracts. Investing in the recycling and waste management industry – through technology and developing processes – is the future. This will enable Northern Ireland Councils to maximise the value in economic activity, job creation and carbon in the long term.
“The Minister’s decision creates opportunities for Northern Ireland to be a centre of excellence for products from waste. I hope that Re-Gen will be at the forefront of these developments.”
** Nichola Mallon MLA was Infrastructure Minister until midnight on Monday 28 March 2022 when the Northern Ireland Assembly 2017-22 Mandate ended.