EPA welcomes today’s policy Direction by Minister Roche on illegal waste activity

Date released: May 03 2005

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) welcomes the Ministerial Direction on action against illegal waste activity.  The Direction strengthens work already underway by its Office of Environmental Enforcement and by local authorities to uncover illegal dumps and to prosecute those responsible. 

The Direction comes on foot of the European Court of Justice decision last week and of  the on-going investigation by the EPA into the extent of unauthorised waste activities in Ireland.  The results of this investigation will indicate the extent of unauthorised sites and will be published in June. 

Coupled with this, an inventory and risk assessment is currently underway.  Local authorities are required to carry out this inventory and risk assessment and it will give a complete picture of old and disused landfill sites in Ireland for the first time.  The inventory will record all non-licensed closed landfills where disposal or recovery activities have taken place. 

Both reports will provide a focus for extensive enforcement action across the entire environmental enforcement network over the coming years, and for the proper remediation and management of old landfill sites.

The EPA will reinforce the Minister’s policy Direction with technical guidance to local authorities on dealing with illegal waste activities.  In preparing this technical guidance the EPA will focus on making these sites safe and securing available evidence to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.  The EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement will prepare guidance on best European practice in dealing with unauthorised landfill sites.  This will allow for a structured and verifiable response by Ireland to the concerns raised by the European Commission and European Court of Justice in the last week.

Today’s Ministerial Direction, combined with the technical guidance on dealing with illegal waste activity, will ensure that any economic benefit which might be derived from illegal dumping will be eliminated by the cost of completing a risk assessment, applying for and complying with a permit or licence and the ultimate remediation of the site.  All evidence collected as part of this process will be used by the local authorities and the EPA to take legal action to secure the highest penalties possible.

The EPA, through its Office of Environmental Enforcement, remains committed to stamping out the scandal of illegal dumping, and to protecting human health and the environment.