Planning Portal

PPS 11: Planning and Waste Management
Policy WM 3

Policy WM 3 Waste Disposal
Proposals for the development of landfill or land raising facilities for the disposal of waste will only be permitted where:
  1. there is a need for the facility as established through the WMS and the relevant WMP; and
  2. the proposed facility is the BPEO; and
  3. the proposed facility complies with all the following criteria:-
    • it will not result in an unacceptable adverse environmental impact that cannot be prevented or appropriately controlled by mitigating measures (see Policy WM 1); and
    • significant mineral reserves are not sterilised; and  
    • it is suitably located within an active or worked out hard rock quarry or it brings land that is despoiled, derelict or contaminated back into productive use; and  
    • in the case of a regional scale landfill or land raising site, its location closely relates to and allows for easy access to key transport corridors and, where practicable make se of the alternative transport modes of rail and water; and  
    • detailed measures are included for the appropriate restoration and aftercare of sites that will help to enhance bio-diversity.
In line with the WMS, prior to the establishment of an integrated network of waste management facilities, the development of interim landfill or land raising facilities for the disposal of waste will be permitted where the criteria under (c) are met and the proposed facility:
  1. provides essential interim capacity;
  2. is likely to form part of a co-ordinated regional or sub-regional network; and
  3. as far as possible does not lead to an increase in the number of active landfill sites.

Justification and Amplification

8.1 Landfilling is the disposal of waste into void spaces in the land often left as a result of mineral extraction. Land raising is the disposal of waste by depositing on land thereby raising its level. This policy applies to all proposals for the disposal of household, industrial and commercial waste with the exception of the deposition of inert waste which is suitable for the purposes of land improvement (See Policy WM 4).
8.2 Landfilling and land raising of municipal waste are at the bottom of the waste management hierarchy and they are usually the least sustainable waste management option. Particular issues associated with these methods include the risk of release of methane gas into the air and adjoining ground or leachate into the soil, groundwater and surface water. Compliance with the siting, engineering and operational requirements of the Landfill Directive is an essential pre-requisite and strict controls will be applied under waste management licensing and IPPC permitting.
8.3 Landfill or landraising will remain the predominant disposal methods for the short to medium term and in the longer term will remain the BPEO for certain materials such as incineration residues, mineral wastes, other inert materials and residual wastes that cannot be recycled or treated further. These disposal methods will therefore have a long term role as part of an integrated waste management strategy and in the interim may be required to take other waste while a network of alternative waste treatment facilities is developed. Waste disposal proposals will be expected to include a statement identifying the waste implications of the development, measures taken to minimise and manage the waste generated, a critical analysis of the alternative methods of treatment for the particular waste material and its potential for recycling, composting or energy recovery.
8.4 To comply with the Landfill Directive, the absolute quantities of waste going to landfill must reduce. The WMS therefore envisages a progressive reduction and consolidation of landfill capacity and overall number of landfill sites.
8.5 Establishing an integrated network of facilities that meet the needs of Northern Ireland, as identified under approved Waste Management Plans, will take time. For municipal solid wastes (MSW), establishing the strategic landfill site(s) to serve regional needs consistent with the BPEO identified in a WMP may depend on, for example, the results of a competitive tendering process. In the interim, the WMS envisages limiting landfill capacity to meet essential interim regional needs. In accordance with the WMS the number of additional waste disposal sites required to provide essential interim capacity will be limited and authorisations restricted to specific volumes for a fixed period.
8.6 Therefore, where there is a need to provide essential interim capacity (EIC) prior to the establishment of regional strategic landfill sites, and the proposal fulfils the criteria of this policy, the approved capacity of additional sites will be limited to that required to meet EIC needs.
This section contains the following sub-categories.
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