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The Agency is empowered under Section 76 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 (as amended) to prepare and publish codes of practice for the purpose of providing guidance with respect to compliance with any enactment or otherwise for the purposes of environmental protection.
The Agency has published a document 'Code of Practice: Environmental Risk Assessment for Unregulated Waste Disposal Sites' under Section 76 of the EPA Act and provides guidance on the environmental risk assessment of unregulated landfills.
A Ministerial Direction (WIR 04/05) was issued on the 3rd May 2005 under Section 60 of the Waste Management Acts 1996 to 2005. It reminds local authorities of their obligations, under Section 22 of the Waste Management Act, 1996 to 2005 and it refers to an inventory and risk assessment of all non-licensed closed landfills (i.e. historic unregulated waste disposal sites). The Code of Practice prepared by the Agency, at the request of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and in response to the Ministerial Policy Direction, sets out a risk based assessment procedure that allows all historic unregulated waste disposal sites to be identified; the potential risks to be assessed and then the appropriate remedial measures or corrective actions to be put in place.
The Code of Practice has been produced to ensure a consistent approach to environmental risk assessment by local authorities when assessing the environmental impact and remediation options for historic unregulated waste disposal sites. It also provides guidance on how to deal with illegal landfills that have come into being since the introduction of the waste licensing regime.
The Code of Practice represents a significant part of Ireland’s response to the European Court of Justice judgement against Ireland (case C-494/01) and, with regulations expected from the Department this year regarding “old” waste sites, will allow Ireland to meet the obligation to regulate waste activity from 1977 onwards as set out in the Waste Framework Directive (75/442/EEC amended by 91/156/EEC).
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