Plans for Londonderry gasification plant shelved

Rubbish in a bin - generic

Plans for a controversial £500m gasification plant on the outskirts of Londonderry have been shelved.

The news has been confirmed by the North West Regional Waste Management Group (NWRWMG), which was set up by local councils to oversee the project.

It says the plans were withdrawn because of concerns about the delivery of the plant, which was to be based in Strathfoyle.

It would have processed 200 tonnes of waste on a daily basis.

The gasification plant would have been one of the most expensive building projects planned in Northern Ireland..

The plant would have processed waste, turning it into energy.

NWRWMG said there were question marks over whether the project was deliverable.

Public purse

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said it was the correct decision and said the councils had to "bow to circumstances outside their control".

"The NWRWMG project had the potential to make a major long-term contribution to the region's waste management requirements.

"I am confident, however, that in light of the major challenges which have been presented to both the deliverability and value for money of the project, that the joint committee has made the correct decision.

"The joint committee's decision has been taken against a background in which, as we all know, waste management in the north requires major reform.

"For my part, I am committed to seeing that reform delivered, in the best interests of the environment, the economy and the people of Northern Ireland.

"The reform of local government generally provides us with a strong platform on which to deliver a new model for waste services and I will continue to work closely with my officials, councils and other stakeholders until we have rooted out illegality and established a fit-for-purpose waste management environment for Northern Ireland as a whole."

A NWRWMG spokesperson said: "The joint committee has agreed to recommend to the group's constituent councils that they do not continue with the procurement of the North West Region Waste Infrastructure Project to deliver new waste infrastructure for the treatment of residual (black bin) waste.

"The recommendation was made due to the degree of uncertainty surrounding the project and question marks over the potential for successful delivery of the project in accordance with the appointment business case and the original final tender submission.

"It was concluded that continuing with this uncertainty placed councils in a position where it would be difficult to plan adequately to ensure that future waste management obligations were met under the EU Waste Framework Directive.

"Continuing with the project would involve considerable additional cost to the public purse with no guarantee of a successful outcome.

"The joint committee is very disappointed that it has had to make this recommendation, but has done so in the interests of all its stakeholders, including ratepayers and councils."

The recommendation will now be presented to councils for their consideration, and the final outcome will be announced when all seven councils have made their decision.

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