Refusal to grant waste licence to Roadstone at Blessington

Date released: Jul 13 2005

The licence application sought permission for a landfill for non-hazardous waste and remediation of illegal waste deposits.  The types of wastes are mixed construction, commercial and municipal wastes.

In reaching this proposed decision the EPA has considered the application and supporting documentation received from the applicant, all submissions received from other parties and the report of its inspector.

The reasons for the proposed decision are as follows:

1.       The siting of the proposed landfill facility on the locally important unconfined aquifer in proximity to the Wicklow County Council Blessington wellfield would constitute an unacceptable risk of environmental pollution.  The zone of contribution of the Blessington wellfield lies directly in the path of and down/cross gradient of the proposed landfill cells.

2.       The applicant has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Agency the requirement to dispose of all of the quantity of waste as proposed in the licence application.

3.       The applicant has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Agency that it is not practicable to identify or establish a landfill disposal site in a lower risk area, and particularly at a suitably licensed facility elsewhere.

4.      The measures proposed for excavation of waste at Area 6 are not sufficient to adequately ensure that odour nuisance and groundwater contamination will not arise thus causing environmental pollution.  

Twenty two submissions were received on the licence application. All parties, and the applicant can object to the proposed decision to refuse the licence within a 28-day period.  The Board of the EPA will then make a final decision.  

 Notes to the Editor:

The EPA received the licence application on 7 December 2004.  Further information was sought from the applicant and was received by the EPA on 30 May 2005. 

The inspector’s report is available on the EPA website’s at www.epa.ie/whatwedo/licensing/waste.  The waste licence application number is 213-1.

How the licensing process works:

1.       Given the complexity and scale of some waste activities, the EPA provides pre-application clarification and consultation so that applications are as complete as possible.

2.       Once received, the application is rigorously assessed by a team of experts from the Office of Licensing and Guidance.

3.       Extra information may be required from the applicant during this assessment.

4.       When the application is deemed complete, and has been fully assessed, the Office of Licensing and Guidance makes a recommendation on the application to the Board of Directors of the EPA.

5.       The Board assesses the recommendation, together with the application and all submissions, before making a decision.

6.       The Board’s decision, in the form of a Proposed Decision (PD), is notified to the applicant, all third parties who made a submission on the application and other statutory consultees.

7.       There follows a 28-day period when any person can submit an objection and request an oral hearing.  They can also make submissions on other objections.

8.       All objections and submissions on objections are considered by a Technical Committee of the Agency or through an oral hearing process.

9.       Any person who lodged a valid objection, as well as the applicant, and the local authority (where relevant) has an automatic right to attend and participate fully at a hearing.  All hearings are open to the public.  Members of the public can participate in the proceedings where they have lodged a valid objection or with the express approval of the Chairperson. 

10.   On completion of an oral hearing, the Chairperson will submit a report of the hearing to the EPA.  In this report, the Chairperson must make a recommendation to grant or refuse a licence.  Where the recommendation is to grant a licence, the Chairperson must outline the recommended conditions to be attached to the licence.

11.   The recommendations arising, together with the objections and submissions, are considered by the Board of Directors before making a final decision to either refuse a licence or to grant a licence with or without conditions.

12.   The Agency is debarred in law from granting a waste licence unless it is satisfied that the activity concerned, carried out in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to a licence, will not cause environmental pollution.