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CITY TRIBUNE

Former city dumps will not be opened for mining

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Any proposal to open up the former dumps at South Park and the Riverside for the recovery of valuable materials would be a non-runner – however, Carrowbrowne would be a location that could warrant further investigation if national policy changed.

That’s the view of the Galway City Council in response to a suggestion by Environment Minister Denis Naughten at a waste industry seminar that landfill mining applications were likely.

The number of landfill sites still receiving waste is down from 25 in 2010 to just six nationally, one of them the recently reopened site in Kilconnell in East Galway.

The former Greenstar-operated dump, which closed when the company went into receivership, was reopened by Galway County Council for a period of two years until the end of 2018. It will be taking in 100,000 tons of waste each year from some of the major waste companies in the county and will then close. The Council will then implement an aftercare service over the following 30 years.

When unearthing the unsorted domestic and commercial waste in a landfill, mining could uncover a treasure trove of aluminium, plastic and scrap metal while also reclaiming scarce urban land for development, Minister Naughten said.

“As a result of our throwaway culture, it would not surprise me, as Minister for Natural Resources and Exploration, that we could soon see applications by mining companies to reopen landfills to recover valuable natural resources that we just threw away in the past,” he stated.

The Environment Protection Agency, which is the licencing authority for current and former landfills, said it had closely examined a detailed study in 2013 on the potential of landfill mining in Scotland.

“From an environmental perspective, the potential environmental impact of any such proposal would have to be assessed in detail and, if the activity was approved, all regulatory and environmental protection requirements put in place, before such an operation would commence,” the agency told the Irish Examiner.

The EPA has been following developments in Belgium, where there is a plan to mine the Remo Milieubeheer NV landfill, which received 16 million tonnes of municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste from the 1970s onwards.

The project aims to recover materials for recycling and to capture and generate 75 MW to 100mw of electricity from the residual waste by with gasification technology.

There has been no landfill operating in the city for the past 15 years. The last was one was in Carrowbrowne on the Headford Road, which has been filled in with organic material and covered over with soil and grass. A site adjacent to it has been used as a composting facility, first by Galway City Council and then Barna Waste.

South Park has not been used as a dump for over 50 years while the landfill between the Tuam Road and Bothar na dTreabh – where the Riverside is now a popular residential area – is but a distant memory, according to a spokesman for Galway City Council.

“There would not be any, any suggestion of going back into South Park and reclaiming metal,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

“The landfill at the Riverside has been built over so that’s a non-runner. We are intrigued by the suggestion by Minister Naughten about landfill mining. There would have to be an enormous amount of research and safeguards put into it. Carrowbrowne is constantly being monitored under licence from the EPA and levels taken by our staff to ensure it is safe.”

Decommissioned dumps are expensive to both monitor and maintain because of the health risks posed by gas emissions and water pollution.

In 2012 the Scottish Government, via Zero Waste Scotland, commissioned Ricardo-AEA to undertake a scoping study on the feasibility and viability of landfill mining and reclamation in Scotland.

Just 60 documented projects have been undertaken worldwide since the first recorded project in Israel in the 1950s.

A cloud has hung over South Park on the edge of Galway Bay since 2006 when it was closed by the City Council after the chance discovery of highly toxic poisons contaminating the soil due to a historic dump. Galway City Council re-opened the park in May 2012 and took away the danger signs warning of hazardous materials following the all clear from the Health Service Executive (HSE) without any remediation works being completed.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council officials branded ‘ignorant’ after reneging on circus agreement

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A circus branded City Hall in Galway ‘ignorant and arrogant’ after a spat over access to public space.

Circus Gerbola criticised Galway City Council for limiting the days its big top was permitted in Claude Toft carpark in Salthill and for reneging on an agreement.

The touring troupe said that last January, it provisionally booked the carpark from August 4-21. In early July, the Council emailed the circus and said it would be limited to seven days only.

Event Producer Jane Murray said she then secured a verbal compromise to rent the carpark for 10 days, including two weekends. But then the Council contacted the circus again and insisted that the site could be used for seven days only.

“I wouldn’t call them clowns because I think it would be an insult to clowns and generations of clowning. They were just extremely ignorant and arrogant. They were so unempathetic,” fumed Ms Murray.

They then scrambled to find alternative accommodation, in Kinvara, for performances today, Saturday and Sunday.

The third planned week has been moved to Conamara. From next Monday, the big top moves to Fíbín theatre company grounds in An Tulach, Cois Fharraige, for a series of events.

A Council statement said the matter was discussed at length internally.

“The carpark in question is relied upon by locals and tourists alike for parking, particularly during the busy tourist season. The best compromise in this situation was to permit the circus to take over full use of the car park for seven days. We do envisage complaints/representations from locals at being prevented from using this car park for a full week,” it said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call on Galway City Council to tackle burning of rubbish

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Local residents have called on the authorities to tackle the problem of an ongoing illegal dump in the Castlegar area with the rubbish being burnt off on a regular basis.

A particularly intense fire was set off in the Bruckey area on Tuesday afternoon last with black smoke billowing from the blaze – forcing local people to close their windows and doors.

According to one local resident, even the Fire Brigade couldn’t access the blaze which eventually burnt itself out over the following days.

“This has been going on for the past four years and we have made several overtures to the City Council on the issue as well as contacting the Gardaí, but nothing is being done about this.”

He said that the land being used as dump and fire site was rented and added that those burning waste were ‘a complete law onto themselves who did whatever they liked’.

(Photo: the fire burning on Tuesday)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors ignore Transport Authority recommendation on estate access

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A submission by the National Transport Authority (NTA) – seeking to restrict new access points along the Western Distributor Road to ‘cyclists and pedestrians’ only – has been defeated at a City Council meeting.

Councillors voted 12-4 to reject the NTA submission presented in the draft Galway City Development Plan (2023-29) which sought to prevent new access points being provided for vehicular traffic.

The NTA in their submission said that their proposal was aimed at ‘protecting investment in public transport’ and in ‘facilitating sustainable travel’.

In his response to the submission, City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, said that the Council did not want any further restrictions to be put in place.

Councillors Niall Murphy (Green Party) and Colette Connolly (Ind) had proposed the acceptance of the NTA submission in order to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Senior Planner with the Council, Caroline Phelan, said that there was a substantial bank of land in this area (off the Western Distributor Road) and the objective was to be able to access zoned land.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said that if land in such areas was prevented from being developed by a lack of access, it would have major implications for industry, jobs, housing and schools. “We have to allow access,” he said.

(Photo: The ‘Kingston Cross’ lands on the Western Distributor Road which were earmarked for a commercial and residential development anchored by Tesco and Decathlon: An Bord Pleanála previously ruled access points would be a traffic hazard, particularly when it came to cycling infrastructure and a bus corridor on the road).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the August 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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