Performance of EPA Licensed Facilities

The EPA compiles Air Enforcement data from which it produces a report on an annual basis. This report provides summary information on compliance with air emissions licence requirements within the EPA licensed industrial and waste sectors. The EPA carries out spot checks on emissions from licensed sites as part of an annual monitoring programme, and the findings from this programme, in addition to the licensees own monitoring and other enforcement information gathered by the Agency, contributes to producing the data for this report.

The Reports are as follows;

EPA Licensed Sites 2014 Report on Air Emissions

EPA Licensed Sites 2013 Report on Air Emissions

 

Licensee's Own Monitoring

As part of the Conditions set out in a licence, a licensee is required to undertake monitoring of the emissions produced as a result of their activity.  Where a licensee’s own monitoring indicates that an emission from one of their stacks is above the limit specified in their licence, they are required to report this to the EPA as an incident.

In 2015, there were 72 such incidents reported which related to 78 individual breaches. These breaches were reported by 32 different sites with 43% of these ELV breaches relating to 5 sites.  The sector which had the highest number of air related breaches was the Chemical sector at 36% followed by the Surface Coating sector at 15%. These sectors were followed by Mineral and Other Materials sector at 13% and the Incineration sector at 11%.

Air Related Incidents

Where non-compliances or incidents are identified, the licensee is required to complete and submit an “Incident Notification Report” to the EPA, for assessment.  In compiling the “Incident Notification Report”, the licensee must provide details on the cause of the incident, the measures taken to remove or limit the impact and the preventative measures that will be put in place to ensure that the issue does not re-occur

In 2015, there were 253 incidents reported by licensees which related to air quality, odour and noise. Some sites reported multiple incidents, hence these 253 incidents relate to a total of 93 sites.  Only 2 (<1%) out of the 253 air related incidents was categorised as “Serious”. A further 15 (6%) were categorised as “Limited” in impact, with the remaining 236 (93%) categorised as “Minor”. Although, 93% of incidents are categorised as "Minor" and do not have any direct impact on the environment, they remain notifiable events under the facility’s EPA licence.  

EPA Compliance Monitoring

In addition to the licensees own monitoring data, the EPA also carries out a programme of independent air emissions monitoring at licensed sites called the Air Emissions Monitoring Programme (AEMP). The purpose of this programme is to spot check the actual air emissions from stacks against the allowable emission limit values specified in the licence. This enables the EPA to not only check the reliability or otherwise of companies own emissions data, but to provide a level of public confidence in the management of industrial air emissions.

In 2015, 88 industry & waste sites, were monitored by the EPA.  There were 28 exceedences of an Emission Limit Value (ELV) detected at 25 different sites. All exceedences were assessed and those deemed of significance are subject to a formal Compliance Investigation(CI).

Complaints

The EPA receives a significant number of environmental complaints from both the general public and other third parties in relation to various issues. In general, the complaints relate to facilities that are licensed by the Agency, however, complaints are also made against a range of other non-licensed activities, which, for the most part, are sent directly to the responsible Local Authority for their attention and follow-up.

In 2015, 989 complaints were received relating to air, odour, noise, and vibration at EPA licensed industrial and waste sites.  Of these complaints, odours account for approximately 75% of all the complaints received, with a higher percentage of these coming from waste sites.  Noise accounted for 20% and air quality accounted for 5% of complaints received in 2015.

EPA Compliance Investigations and Prosecutions

Where an issue arises at a licensed site, the EPA engages with the licensee to address the relevant issues.  Where the Agency is not satisfied with the actions being taken or proposed to be taken by the licensee and/or where the environmental risk is significant, the EPA may escalate the enforcement action and open a formal investigation into the issue (called a Compliance Investigation (CI)) and require the licensee to take further corrective and preventative actions as necessary.

When a Compliance Investigation (CI) is opened by the EPA, there can be numerous engagements between the licensee and the EPA, prior to the issue being resolved to the satisfaction of the Agency. Where (but not limited to) the EPA considers that the Licensee is not co-operating sufficiently with the Agency to address the particular issue, additional enforcement may be considered including formal legal proceedings.