Date released: March 11, 2021
The EPA has seen an increase in both the numbers of inspections and enforcement actions taken by local authorities since 2018 with the bulk of these relating to waste and litter. Local authorities also managed a substantial volume of environmental complaints during the year. These again related predominantly to waste issues.
The EPA found that local authorities are taking account of national enforcement priorities in implementing their work which is welcome. It did find, however, that additional focus is needed in both air enforcement and water protection.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:
“In looking across the range of enforcement activities, waste management is where most local authority activities are focused. This is not surprising given the breadth of their functions in this area relative to air enforcement. Good work has been completed by local authorities, working with the EPA, in developing the national air monitoring programme. However, considering the effect of air quality on human health and well-being, more action is needed on air enforcement.”
A substantial programme of water inspection was undertaken by the local authorities during the year and these water inspections and investigations led to over a thousand enforcement actions and a limited number of prosecutions during 2019.
Andy Fanning, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:
“Local authorities continue to deliver their key role in national water sampling which is welcome as it provides data to inform action. This information, however, is showing a continuing decline in water quality and more needs to be done to protect our water environment. Local authorities need to make sure that they are applying enough resources to protect both human health and the environment and are taking effective enforcement action where non compliances are found.”
The EPA also highlights in the report that, while enforcement is necessary, all sectors of society have a role in making sure their actions do not pollute or damage our environment. Each household, organisation and business need to segregate and manage their wastes correctly, comply with low smoke zone requirements where they are in place, and make sure that their actions do not pollute waters.
Local authority environmental enforcement role:
Download the National Environmental Complaints Line APP ‘See it Say it’ at the following links:
This App makes it really easy to report environmental pollution the GPS location and a photo submitted at the touch of a button. If a person spots environmental pollution or dumping, open the App, take a photograph, add a few simple details including your contact details, and submit the complaint. The app will send the GPS coordinates and will make it easy for those investigating to locate the problem. This will allow your local County or City Council to follow up on the complaint. The report will be submitted to http://www.fixyourstreet.ie/. One can check there for updates.
You can also use the App to make a phone call to the National Environmental Complaints Line 1850 365 121. The phone line is open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and all calls will be answered by dedicated staff. The details of the complaint, such as location, nature of the complaint, will be recorded and passed to the relevant local authority, and followed up by them, the Gardaí or the EPA as appropriate.