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Plans to cofire alternative fuels at Mungret cement should be rejected

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World Cement,

Irish Cement’s proposal to switch to cofiring alternative fuels at its Mungret cement plant in Limerick should be rejected because of its “poor environmental record”, according to a group opposing the plan.

The plan will be scrutisinised at oral hearings of the planning appeals authority at the end of August. Under Irish Cement’s proposal, the plant would move to gradually replace fossil fuels with up to 90 000 tpy of alternative fuels, including tyres, industrial solvents, and other solid wastes.

According to the company, the Mungret plant is currently the only plant in Ireland that does not use alternative fuels, the use of which would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the plant, as well as limiting the amount of imported fossil fuels required.

“In common with all industries, the cement industry in Europe has to meet its obligations to reduce CO2 emissions,” the company said in a statement. “This initiative could see a saving of up to 40 000 tpy of carbon dioxide.”

Irish Cement also pointed to the well-established nature of alternative fuel use at cement plants around Europe. They have been used in Irish cement plants since 2006, when Lagan Cement introduced them into its fuel mix.

However, recent environmental-compliance issues at the Mungret plant has resulted in significant local opposition to the introduction of alternative fuels there.

“Because of the plant’s recent poor environmental record, we don’t trust them to be given a new licence where the process is far more specialised,” said campaign group, Limerick Against Pollution spokesperson.

In July, the Mungret plant was included in a list of five industrial sites targeted in a new enforcement drive by Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the EPA, sites named on the National Priority Site List would be subject to escalating enforcement action should their compliance not improve.

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