SEE SOMETHING? SAY SOMETHING!

Date released: Apr 25 2007

SEE SOMETHING?  SAY SOMETHING! is a leaflet produced by the Environmental Enforcement Network, to make it easier for members of the public to make an environmental complaint.  The leaflet was launched today by Mr. Dick Roche, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Welcoming the launch of the leaflet Dara Lynott, Director, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said,
“The Environmental Enforcement Network is the coming together of a range of agencies involved in environmental protection.  The network was aware that people may have been unsure of whom to contact on particular environmental issues and is launching this leaflet to provide contact details and an outline of what steps to take when making a complaint.   If for example you have a complaint regarding water pollution the leaflet will guide you to who to contact and also what steps you can take yourself.”


He continued,
“There is a growing awareness about environmental issues in Ireland.  People are willing to get involved in resolving environmental problems.  It is important that members of the public play a role in reporting environmental problems to the correct authorities in a manner that will best ensure that the problem will be resolved.”

The leaflet is divided into three sections:
Who to contact.
What to say and do.
Directory of relevant agencies.

Dara Lynott said,
“It is important that members of the public contact the right organisation when they cannot resolve an environmental issue on their own.  They should give as much detail as possible and keep a record of all correspondence.”
The leaflet entitled SEE SOMETHING?  SAY SOMETHING! is available on the EPA web site at www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/other/corporate/

ENDS

Notes for the Editor:

1.  Environmental Enforcement Network
The Environmental Enforcement Network was set up in 2004 by the Environmental Protection Agency in order to foster co-operation between public bodies to promote better compliance with the law through improved and more consistent enforcement.  The Environmental Enforcement Network includes Local Authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fisheries Boards, the Health Service Executive, the Revenue commissioners, an Gardaí, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations and other government departments.  The Office of Environmental Enforcement within the Environmental Protection Agency co-ordinates the activities of the network.

2. Environmental Complaints
In developing a consistent approach to dealing with environmental complaints, the Environmental Enforcement Network considered environmental complaints made to the EPA, to local authorities and to the European Commission. The number of investigations being carried out by the European Commission and the EPA was rising and it was clear that a standard integrated system for dealing with environmental complaints was needed.  To this end a national environmental complaints procedure has been developed by the Environmental Enforcement Network.  The key players involved include the EPA, the County and City Managers Association, all local authorities and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.  The European Commission also supports the implementation of the National Environmental Complaints Procedure. 

Part of the implementation of this best practice involved the publication of the leaflet, SEE SOMETHING? SAY SOMETHING!, to advise the public on how to make an environmental complaint.

Local authorities deal with most environmental issues such as water quality of our lakes, rivers and estuaries; sewage treatment; land-spreading of industrial wastes, sewage and animal wastes; fly tipping of household waste; back yard burning of household waste; noise nuisance from commercial premises and emissions to air, water and land from industrial premises.

Litter complaints account for the majority of environmental complaints and tend to be dealt with by specialised litter lines and litter wardens.  

The EPA deals directly with large industries that require an EPA licence.    The EPA is also responsible for overseeing the statutory performance of local authorities.  To this end if a local authority has investigated an issue and the problem persists, the EPA will then investigate the issue and resolve it where possible.  In turn, with the implementation of this procedure, the EPA will not become involved in investigating an issue that should be resolved by a local authority until the relevant local authority has been given an opportunity to investigate and resolve the issue.