Date released: Feb 02 2016, 2:54 PM
A welcome shift away from landfill; an expanded role in implementing the Water Framework Directive; more than 1,300 industrial and waste site visits and 14 prosecutions – these are among the highlights in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Annual Report for 2014 published today.
The Report covers the work of the EPA for the year ended 31 December 2014 and provides an overview of the scope and the extent of the Agency’s work. It sets out the progress made to address the nine strategic priorities in the EPA’s Strategic Plan 2013-2015, Working with others for a Better Environment. These priorities reflect the challenges being faced by the EPA and by Irish society; the overarching challenge is the need for all citizens to live sustainably and protect the environment we live in, particularly now as the country now begins to emerge from recession and economic growth resumes and continues.
Launching the report, Ms Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, said that Ireland is fortunate to have an environment that remains in generally good condition, and commended the the professionalism of her Agency colleagues in achieving consistently strong results at a challenging time.
“We are highly aware of our mission in the EPA - ‘to protect and improve the environment as a valuable asset for the people of Ireland and to protect people and the environment from harmful effects of radiation and pollution’. In 2014 the Agency continued to perform effectively across a wide range of statutory functions in fulfilling this mission.”
The EPA plays a number of critical roles in delivering on its remit: the Agency is environmental regulator, knowledge provider and advocate for the environment.
“At its heart, environmental protection is simply about making the world a safe, productive and pleasant place to live – right now, and into the future,” Laura Burke said. “Rather than being in conflict with growth, a clean healthy environment is the foundation for successful economies and societies. I am pleased to report that during 2014 the EPA continued to deliver the valuable societal outcomes for which we are recognised.”
2014 also saw the completion of the merger of the EPA and the RPII, and the EPA’s newly established Office of Radiological Protection commenced operation on 1st August 2014.
“This merger has brought together the committed and dedicated staff of both organisations to create a strong scientific organisation that continues to places the same high value on environmental and radiological protection,” Laura Burke concluded.
The final report of the activities of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII), is now available in English and Irish. This report presents an overview of the work of the RPII from its establishment in 1992 through to its merger with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August 2014.
Notes to Editor:
EPA Strategic Priorities 2013-2015:
Clean Water: Provide for a holistic approach to water protection and management and the effective implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Adapt EPA activities to new water governance structures
including requirements arising from the establishment of Irish Water.
Better Regulation: Expand our better regulation activities and risk based approaches to licensing, enforcement and monitoring. Use the full range of enforcement tools including education and advice, warnings, civil sanctions, criminal sanctions and licence revocation.
Preventing Environmental Damage: Prevent future environmental damage from the closure of activities and drive the remediation of contaminated sites.
Accessible Information: Provide timely and easily available environmental information to all our stakeholders.
Evidence based decision making: Continuously improve the timeliness and quality of our environmental data and inventories to support evidence-based decision making, integrated environmental assessment and reporting.
Research Programme: Maintain a vibrant and relevant environmental research programme to influence policy, identify pressures and develop solutions to environmental challenges.
Working with Others: Engage and network with other sectors and organisations interacting with the environment.
Behavioural Change: Influence positive behavioural change by supporting businesses, communities and householders to be more resource efficient.
Human Health: Develop stronger and more robust approaches to understanding and promoting the essential role that protecting the environment plays in improving the health of the population.