You are here: Home > Downloads > Publications & Reports > Other > Corporate documents

Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a statutory body responsible for protecting the environment in Ireland. We regulate and police activities that might otherwise cause pollution. We ensure there is solid information on environmental trends so that necessary actions are taken. Our priorities are protecting the Irish environment and ensuring that development is sustainable.

The EPA is an independent public body established in July 1993 under the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992. Its sponsor in Government is the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Our Responsibilities

LICENSING

We license the following to ensure that their emissions do not endanger human health or harm the environment:

  • waste facilities (e.g., landfills,incinerators, waste transfer stations);
  • large scale industrial activities (e.g., pharmaceutical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, power plants);
  • intensive agriculture;
  • the contained use and controlled release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs);
  • large petrol storage facilities.

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT

  • Conducting over 2,000 audits and inspections of EPA licensed facilities every year.
  • Overseeing local authorities' environmental protection responsibilities in the areas of - air, noise, waste, waste-water and water quality.
  • Working with local authorities and the Gardaí to stamp out illegal waste activity by co-ordinating a national enforcement network, targeting offenders, conducting investigations and overseeing remediation.
  • Prosecuting those who flout environmental law and
    damage the environment as a result of their actions.

MONITORING, ANALYSING AND REPORTING ON THE ENVIRONMENT

  • Monitoring air quality and the quality of rivers, lakes, tidal waters and ground waters; measuring water levels and river flows.
  • Independent reporting to inform decision making by national and local government.

REGULATING IRELAND'S GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

  • Quantifying Ireland's emissions of greenhouse gases in the context of our Kyoto commitments.
  • Implementing the Emissions Trading Directive, involving over 100 companies who are major generators of carbon dioxide in Ireland.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Co-ordinating research on environmental issues (including air and water quality, climate change, biodiversity, environmental technologies).

STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

  • Assessing the impact of plans and programmes on the Irish environment (such as waste management and development plans).

ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING, EDUCATION AND GUIDANCE

  • Providing guidance to the public and to industry on various environmental topics (including licence applications, waste prevention and environmental regulations).
  • Generating greater environmental awareness (through environmental television programmes and primary and secondary schools' resource packs).

PROACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

  • Promoting waste prevention and minimisation projects through the co-ordination of the National Waste Prevention Programme, including input into the implementation of Producer Responsibility Initiatives.
  • Enforcing Regulations such as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and substances that deplete the ozone layer.
  • Developing a National Hazardous Waste Management Plan to prevent and manage hazardous waste.

MANAGEMENT AND STRUCTURE OF THE EPA

The organisation is managed by a full time Board, consisting of a Director General and four Directors. The work of the EPA is carried out across four offices:

  • Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use
  • Office of Environmental Enforcement
  • Office of Environmental Assessment
  • Office of Communications and Corporate Services

The EPA is assisted by an Advisory Committee of twelve members who meet several times a year to discuss issues of concern and offer advice to the Board.