Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Ireland: Government Creating Incineration Capacity and Tax

(Mar. 4, 2010) On February 9, 2010, the Government of Ireland issued a statement to confirm that it is proceeding with the waste management strategy contained in the 2007 Programme for Government and the 2009 Renewed Program for Government. The statement went on to indicate that the Government is drafting legislation to impose a levy on incineration, to be introduced in the Houses of the Oireachtas (Parliament) “early this year,” and that it is conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment to set a cap on the country's incineration capacity. (Press Release, Department of the Taoiseach (Feb. 9, 2010), available at

Ireland has not used large incinerators as a means of disposing of commercial waste. Instead, Ireland has traditionally relied on landfills and exportation for commercial waste management. In 2005, the country's Environmental Protection Agency issued licenses for the construction of its first such incinerators. (EPA Issues Licences for Incinerators, Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland website,,11990,en.html (last visited Mar. 3, 2010).) After submitting its bid, the winning company warned that incineration would not be commercially viable if a levy were to be imposed upon them. However, the Government decided that instead of exempting incinerators, it would increase the landfill levy to €30 (about US$41) per ton as of February 1, 2010. (Waste Management (Landfill Levy) Order 2010, (S.I. No. 31 of 2010), IRISH STATUTE BOOK, Jan. 22, 2010, available at

By increasing the levy by 50% in a month, the Government hopes to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste diverted to landfills from around 36% to 10% and to make incineration commercially viable even if it is taxed at a rate that has yet to be set, but is expected to be significantly lower. (Evelyn Ring, 50% Rise in Landfill Levy to 'Encourage Green Alternatives,' IRISH EXAMINER, Feb. 1, 2010, available at
; Stephen Rogers, Claim That Incineration No Longer Government Policy Rejected, IRISH EXAMINER, Apr. 28, 2009, available at