Plans for a rubbish-burning power plant in Canberra's east have been formally dumped, as the company behind the proposal hit out at residents who have opposed the project.
Capital Recycling Solutions director Adam Perry says they have no plans now to build the incinerator on Ipswich Street in Fyshwick or any other site in the ACT, after coming to the conclusion the government would never approve it.
The Greens, who hold the balance of power in the ACT's parliament, have previously said burning waste was "no better than burning dirty fossil fuels", and it would not help achieve the territory's ultimate goal of carbon neutrality.
However the company is still pursuing plans for the recycling facility on the same site, saying there was a large proportion of landfilled waste streams that should be recycled.
"The ACT government does not have a waste-to-energy policy. We believe that any application in the ACT would not be received for assessment until a policy is formulated. Furthermore, the Greens are plainly against it, therefore the government could not support it," Mr Perry said.
"The Greens came out in strong opposition to our waste-to-energy proposal. We accept that, we have removed it. We now ask for their support for our recycling proposal. We ask them – do you want more recycling or more landfilling?"
However ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said it was not a simple choice between the Capital Recycling Solutions proposal and waste going to landfill.
“Capital Recycling Solutions are putting their proposal forward because it fits in their business model, but that does not mean we need to take it if it is not the best solution for Canberra," Mr Rattenbury said.
"We’ve ruled out CRS’ previous incineration proposal because it presented significant environmental and health problems and would not have achieved the maximum economic and environmental benefit from those resources.
"There are other issues to consider in this proposal, such as whether the facility is located in an appropriate location, and whether there will be unacceptable impacts on residents. The bottom line is that this project is still undergoing an EIS, so we will be waiting to see the outcome of that before finalising our view."
City Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the government was currently developing a waste-to-energy policy, which would be open for consultation later in the year.
She said the government did have concerns about the proposal as its its primary purpose was to divert waste from the Mugga Lane landfill to the Woodlawn landfill.
"The focus of the ACT waste strategy is to push waste up the waste hierarchy of avoidance - as the most preferred action - reuse, recycling, recover energy from waste, or landfill - as the least preferred action. Our understanding is that the CRS proposal had a low level of recycling," Ms Fitzharris said.
Mr Perry also hit out at the "small but vocal" group of residents who have opposed both the recycling centre and the rubbish-burning plant, saying the seemed to want "landfilling of resources to continue forever in the ACT".
"They have little regard for the communities that are being impacted by the growing footprint at Mugga Lane, nor for the government’s very clear policy of increasing recycling rates and decreasing landfill rates," he said.
"These people never offer any genuine researched and costed alternate solutions or suggestions. They claim to represent tens of thousands of others in the community and they simply do not. We see the same 10 or 12 people talking at our public meetings, and their public meetings, making all of the noise and saying things that often aren’t true."
He singled out residents' claims that the recycling centre could increase the risk of bird strikes at Canberra Airport, an issue the airport is reviewing.
Dr Leo Dobes from the Griffith Narrabundah Community Council said he thought the recycling plant was a "clever and well-thought through business model" but it was in the wrong spot.
He said local residents had not opposed the "intent" of the business but rather its proximity to their homes.
"The Fyshwick location would not pass the ‘pub test’ in terms of appropriateness," Dr Dobes said.
"It seems to be driven solely by the vested business interests of Access Recycling which owns the land at the Ipswich Street location. That is not a good enough reason to place the waste transfer facility there."