20 January 2020


Tim Walker, acting Chief Executive of the waste and resources management group, arc21, said:


“The ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal includes a welcome commitment to address climate change head on, introduce targets to reduce carbon emissions and an economic strategy to create jobs as part of a Green New Deal.

“By investing in new waste infrastructure that meets European best practice, we have the opportunity to start using our waste and resources better to help rather than hinder these policy objectives. arc21’s proposal for an Energy from Waste plant, for instance, will include Ireland’s largest integrated recycling facility.

“While we should be really proud of how much Northern Ireland’s recycling rates have improved, more needs to be done to meet the challenges of the next decades. While we develop green infrastructure, non-recylable waste will continue to be exported to Europe for incineration – an increasingly expensive option – or sent to landfill sites which are nearing capacity.

“arc21’s proposals will address these environmentally unfriendly practices, cut greenhouse gas emissions and provide renewable electricity and heat to stimulate new jobs.

“Northern Ireland also has the unenviable reputation of being home to Europe’s largest illegal landfill dump in Mubuoy. arc21’s facilities will reduce the vulnerability of the waste sector to organised crime in line with the recommendations of the 2013 Mills Report which was commissioned by the then Environment Minister.

Mr. Walker added:

“At present, households in arc21 councils produce c.250,000 tonne of waste annually that can’t be recycled. This is currently landfilled or exported for someone else to manage. That is unsustainable.

“arc21’s proposal is a tailormade, long-term solution for a long-term problem. It is accountable to local councils, good for the environment and beneficial for ratepayers.”

The project will:

  • Reduce Greenhouse Gases by 57,000 tonnes annually by diverting waste from landfill
  • Increase recycling rates by 5%
  • Provide renewable electricity equivalent to powering 30,000 homes annually
  • Support 455 construction jobs (at peak)
  • Support 300 direct and indirect jobs when operational
  • Generate millions in rates income and revenue share for arc21 councils
  • Ensure arc21’s councils comply with their Waste Management Plans
  • Help tackle waste crime
  • Provide the potential to stimulate new economic projects
  • Create new public footpaths / cycle paths and restore habitation within Hightown Quarry

Mr. Walker concluded:

“We look forward to working with the new Executive and discussing how we can start managing waste in a way which is fully traceable, benefits society and allows Northern Ireland to make a positive impact on the climate emergency.”