Licence to remediate only granted for illegal dump at Whitestown

Date released: Sep 22 2006

  • EPA refuses Brownfield Restoration Ireland Limited licence to construct landfill at Whitestown Lower, Co. Wicklow.
  • EPA requires Brownfield Restoration Ireland Limited to fully remediate the site.

Specifically, the EPA requires:

  • All potentially polluting wastes to be excavated, processed and dispatched off-site for safe disposal in authorised facilities;
  • A prohibition on the importation of waste on to the site;
  • Dust, gas and contaminated water emissions to be safely managed and monitored during the remediation and restoration programme;  
  • Reinstatement of excavated areas with inert materials.

- EPA satisfied that there will be no residual environmental issues of any significance associated with the site or its environs as a result of the historical illegal waste activities on completion of the work.
- EPA satisfied that the decision offers the best solution to the problems posed by the illegally dumped waste, and addresses the concerns of the local community.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed its earlier decision to refuse permission to Brownfield Restoration Ireland Limited to construct an engineered landfill at Whitestown Lower, Co. Wicklow.  It has instead granted a restricted waste licence for the remediation of an illegal landfill on the site.

The licence application sought permission for a landfill facility for mixed waste (Commercial, Industrial, Construction & Household wastes) and for the remediation of the site.   Restriction of the waste licence to the processing of the historical waste on-site and the removal of any non-inert material from the site, allows the applicant to remediate the illegal landfill and make safe the landform of this area of the site.

The importation of waste to the site is specifically prohibited.  Following initial engineering works to prevent pollution all domestic, commercial and other non-inert wastes must be removed off-site to an approved disposal/recovery facility. Only inert waste may remain on site.

The remediation programme will eliminate the environmental risks associated with this site and provide a high level of protection of the environment and public health. On completion of the programme, there will be no residual environmental issues of any significance associated with the site or its environs as a result of the historical illegal waste activities.

The EPA is satisfied that the decision offers the best solution to the problems posed by the illegally dumped waste, and addresses the concerns of the local community and others who made submissions by providing for the immediate remediation of the site and is fully in line with the Ministerial Policy Direction of May 3, 2005.

All related documentation is available on the EPA website.  The waste licence application number is 204-1.


Notes to Editor:

The EPA received the licence application on 18 March 2004.  Further information was sought from the applicant and was received by the EPA, completing the application, on 30 May 2005. 

The EPA considered the application and supporting documentation received from the applicant, all 125 valid submissions received from other parties and the report of its inspector.  The proposed decision was issued on 6th April 2006. 

Seven objections to that decision were received.  The EPA considered the seven objections and a report from a technical committee and issued the final decision today.

The reasons for the final decision are as follows:

1. The EPA believes that the site in its current condition is not suitable for a non-hazardous landfill.  Had the site been a greenfield site, it would have been rejected during the site selection exercise for a non-hazardous landfill, given the characteristics of the site and proximity to housing and a designated water body,
2. The EPA has identified the need for remediation of the illegal waste deposited at the site and the amelioration of the risks it poses, as a separate matter from the restoration of the site due to quarrying activities.
3. This decision is made in the knowledge of the presence of illegally deposited waste at the applicant site. There exists, in the opinion of the Agency, potentially harmful emissions from this waste.  Such emissions could cause significant environmental pollution if left unaddressed.
4. The proposed site is within 100m and directly up-gradient of the Carrigower River, which is designated a Site of Community Importance (SCI) (salmonids) as per EU Decision of 7 December 2004. 
5. The underlying geology is highly permeable – there is no natural barrier in the sub-soils.
6. Domestic residences lie immediately adjacent to the proposed landfill approximately 20m from the facility boundary and 40m from the landfill footprint.