Date released: December 16, 2021
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today released its report on local authority environmental enforcement activities for 2020. The EPA has seen a high level of inspections and enforcement actions carried out by local authorities, with the bulk of these relating to waste and litter. Local authorities also handled a substantial volume of environmental complaints during the year - predominantly relating to waste issues.
Waste enforcement activities largely remained resilient in 2020. However, the EPA found progress on water and air enforcement priorities lagged behind waste enforcement, primarily due to having less resources assigned to them and a lack of enforcement co-ordination services across the local authorities.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:
“The resilience of the waste enforcement activities and better co-ordination through the support of the regional waste shared services is to be commended. However, it is concerning to see the reduced enforcement activity in water, air and noise, given the decline in our water quality and the impact of poor air quality and noise on the environment and human health. Local authorities must address these challenges as a matter of priority in their enforcement activities.”
The national water quality monitoring programme was substantially completed by local authorities, providing up to date information on water quality. However, there is not enough evidence that this information is being used effectively by local authorities to target local enforcement efforts.
Noel Byrne, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:
“National water monitoring data 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 targeting inspections of farms and septic tanks in the areas of greatest risk and are taking effective enforcement action where non-compliances are found.”
In addition, the burning of non-complaint solid fuels remains a key issue impacting on air quality and human health. Local authorities should engage in co-ordinated and targeted inspections of solid fuel supplies and take follow-up enforcement actions to ensure that the environment and health are protected.
The Focus on Local Authority Environmental Enforcement Report 2020 is available on the EPA website, which contains an infographic highlighting the main findings from the report.
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 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 1800 365 123. 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.