Environmental Protection Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2007

Summary: Report on the functions and accounts of the EPA in 2007

Published: 2008

ISBN: 1-84095-272-5

Pages: 66

Filesize: 2,351KB

Format: pdf

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Welcome to the 2007 annual report for the EPA.  2007 was a busy year for the EPA and this report sets out the main activities undertaken by each Office of the EPA during the year.  Looking back in years to come, the year 2007 will be seen as a watershed year for climate change and this is reflected in the increased activity of the EPA in the climate change area during 2007.  There is now a heightened global awareness of the fact that we are living in a world that is experiencing climate change and that the time for action is short if we are to avoid the potentially calamitous impacts that climate change might bring about. 

A major milestone for the EPA during 2007 was the publication of our new corporate strategy called 2020Vision. 2020Vision is different to previous strategies published by the EPA in that it sets out long-term goals for Ireland’s environment and identifies the steps that the EPA will take in the medium term to put us on the right track for achieving these goals. Goals have been set in 2020Vision under the headings of limiting and adapting to climate change, clean air, protected water resources, protected soil and biodiversity, sustainable use of resources and integration and enforcement.

In developing 2020Vision, we concluded that some structural re-organisation within the EPA was required.  To meet the challenges posed by climate change and to streamline and focus our response, we created a Climate Change Unit in 2007 by merging activities carried out across the Agency in emissions trading, inventories, projections, climate research and air and climate science areas.  This has given the EPA a much stronger focus on this important area and equips us for the challenges that lie ahead. Through our research programmes we are building up an impressive body of knowledge on the implications of climate change in Ireland and the EPA is now in a strong position to provide leadership and good quality information in this area.    

We also wanted to place a stronger focus on the whole area of waste prevention and resource use so we established a Resource Use Unit which leads the National Waste Prevention Programme and incorporates our producer responsibility, national waste reporting and national hazardous waste planning functions. 

Biodiversity and soils protection also emerged as important areas when developing 2020Vision.  While the EPA is not the lead agency in Ireland for dealing with biodiversity and soil protection issues, we considered it important that these two issues were identified as goal areas in 2020Vision due to their overall importance in relation to sustainable development.  We have, therefore, established a new Soils and Biodiversity Unit to coordinate EPA activity in this area.

During 2007, the EPA was designated a number of important new functions.  In March of 2007, the EPA was made responsible for overseeing the supply of drinking water by public authorities.  This is a major new responsibility for the EPA and structures to implement this new function were put in place during 2007. 

In late 2007, the EPA was also made responsible for licensing urban waste water treatment plants, with the first tranche of applications received in December 2007.   It is estimated that some 480 agglomerations will be subject to the licensing process.

The producer responsibility area also continues to grow.  Packaging, waste from electrical and electronic equipment, control of decorative paints, control of solvents and restrictions on the use of hazardous substances in products are all now regulated by producer responsibility initiatives and regulations overseen by the EPA.  In 2007, the EPA was asked to add the control of batteries to its producer responsibility programme.  We have also been asked to take on additional functions in the area of water protection and management as Ireland takes steps to continue its successful implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

Overall, 2007 was a year when the EPA re-focused itself on long-term environmental outcomes for Ireland’s environment by setting goals for the environment for 2020.  The challenge now is to chart the course for how we will achieve these goals and to relentlessly pursue them with the many other organisations that need to be involved in the journey.

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