Ipswich City Council today re-enforced that any waste to energy facility in Ipswich would need to exceed the highest international standards and benchmarks in order to proceed.
“We understand that Remondis has lodged a request with the state government’s Coordinator-General to declare their proposal a coordinated project,” interim administrator Greg Chemello said.
“If it is declared, we understand that it would be the role of the state government, or more explicitly the Coordinator-General, to manage a comprehensive and thorough environmental assessment of the proposal, including community engagement.”
Mr Chemello said Ipswich and neighbouring councils were leading an innovative regional approach to resource recovery and waste management.
“A collaborative approach has been in place for some months now, actively looking for environmentally sustainable and commercially viable options and solutions to our collective waste challenge” he said.
“We realise this is an issue for the entirety of southeast Queensland which can’t be dealt with in isolation by each local government. For that reason, we understand why the Coordinator-General could have a role to assess the potential impact of the Remondis application across council boundaries.”
“But it should be clear that in Ipswich, we will be adamantly requiring world’s best practice and the highest possible international environmental standards to ensure there is no measurable environmental impact on our community.”
Mr Chemello said he hoped the regional waste alliance would be in a position to come back to the people of Ipswich “within the next few months” to get their views and thoughts on the best ways forward when it came to tackling waste management.
“Our current thinking is that alternative waste technologies should be explored,” he said.
“I understand that there is a strong scepticism in Ipswich about thermal treatment of waste, and I’ve already made it quite clear that smoke stacks billowing soot into the local air are simply not an option for this community.”
Some of the options being looked at by the councils include in-vessel composting, anaerobic digestion, mechanical biological treatment, gasification and pyrolysis.
“This is a regional issue which will require extensive discussion within the Ipswich community, and those of surrounding councils,” Mr Chemello said.
“We recognise Remondis’ right to submit a development application and seek coordinated project status from the state, but the Ipswich community will need to be convinced this is an environmentally appropriate way forward,” he said.
“I understand that Remondis is intending to undertake a significant community engagement as part this process.
“It is a massive challenge for the company.”