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Local Government Reform Programme

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 5:00 pm on 20th October 2009.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 5:00 pm, 20th October 2009

In relation to the waste management process, I would dearly love Northern Ireland to be able to reuse and recycle all its waste; however, I do not think we will be in that situation in the foreseeable future. There are other treatments, such as anaerobic digestion and mechanical biological treatments, but energy from waste has to be considered. The alternative to energy from waste is dumping waste in landfills, and that will come at a considerable cost to the taxpayer and ratepayer. There will be a charge of £72 per ton of waste that goes to landfill. We have to consider those situations and come to logical conclusions.

Were an energy-from-waste proposal to be the logical conclusion for a particular area or areas, then that decision would have to be taken. We do not need to make decisions today on the Floor of the House on how exactly we should handle our waste. We have a problem that must be dealt with, and we must deal with it and get our heads around it.

The business services organisation that was referred to will be a council-owned organisation that will be answerable to local authorities, with representatives from each local authority. Given the nature of Northern Ireland, it must be ensured that each sector of Northern Ireland is represented on such bodies and that the organisations have cross-party membership in order to work effectively.