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Waste at forefront of my agenda - Poots

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, highlighted the opportunities for Northern Ireland in establishing a network of clean waste technologies that can become a template for best practice across Europe

Delivering the keynote address at Northern Ireland’s Waste Infrastructure Conference held in Belfast today, the Minister called for greater collective responsibility in facing the challenges and seizing the opportunities which the £600million waste treatment infrastructure presents to Northern Ireland.

The Minister said: “Waste is at the forefront of my agenda as the Minister for the Environment. It is clear now that we will need to reduce, re-use and recycle waste whilst ensuring that all necessary infrastructure is in place to meet current and potential targets for reducing waste sent to landfill.”

The Minister stressed that other European countries have managed to balance good waste infrastructure with excellent recycling rates. The Minister said: “With the appropriate political and public will, sustainable solutions for managing waste can be implemented.”

The annual conference brought delegates from a broad range of stakeholders in waste management including local and central government, industry and voluntary bodies to examine the key issues facing the waste industry in Northern Ireland.

Procurement is now underway for new waste infrastructure facilities, with the process being taken forward by Northern Ireland's three local waste management groups. The overall investment in Northern Ireland's waste treatment infrastructure, expected to be in the region of £600million, envisages a mixture of waste technologies including energy from waste and mechanical and biological treatment.

Notes to editors:

1. The Developing Waste Infrastructure Conference was held today at Stormont Hotel.

2. Others speakers included Leo O’Reilly, Permanent Secretary, Department of Environment, Alan McVicker, Director, Waste Infrastructure Programme Delivery Support Unit (PDSU), Andrew Baskin, Director, Waste and Energy, RPS Group, Dr Gev Eduljee, External Affairs Director, SITA UK, Andrew Ryan, Carson McDowell, Dolores Kelly, MLA Chair, Environment Committee, Northern Ireland Assembly, Eric Randall, Director, Bryson Recycling, Michael Warhurst, Senior Waste and Resources Campaigner, Friends of the Earth.

3. Northern Ireland’s 26 district councils formed into the three regional waste management groups shortly after publication of the first waste strategy for Northern Ireland in March 2000.

4. Northern Ireland’s three waste management groups are: arc21, North West Region Waste Management Group and Southern Waste Management Partnership.

5. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.