Proposed licence for remediation of an illegal landfill at Whitestown

Date released: Apr 07 2006

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Proposed Decision to grant a restricted waste licence to Brownfield Restoration Ireland Limited for the remediation of an illegal landfill at Whitestown Lower, Co. Wicklow.

The licence application

The licence application sought permission for a landfill facility for mixed waste (Commercial, Industrial, Construction & Household wastes) and for the remediation of the site.

The Proposed Decision

The Proposed Decision refuses permission for the mixed waste landfill. It also restricts the range of activities to only those associated with the remediation of the historically deposited waste.  No waste can be brought on to the site.  Following initial engineering works to prevent pollution all domestic, commercial and other non-inert wastes must be removed off-site to an approved disposal/recovery facility. Historical inert waste may remain on site.

In addition, the EPA may appoint an independent technical expert to oversee the remediation programme and report to the EPA on a regular basis.  

In reaching this decision the EPA has considered the application and supporting documentation received from the applicant, all 125 valid submissions received from other parties and the report of its inspector.

The reasons for the proposed decision are as follows:

1.      This decision is made in the knowledge of the presence of illegally deposited waste at the applicant site, and having regard to the need for a high standard of environmental protection, as well as the need for precaution in relation to potentially harmful effects of emissions from this waste, as there exists, in the opinion of the Agency, reasonable grounds for believing that such emissions could cause significant environmental pollution if left unaddressed.

2.      The proposed site is within 100m and directly up-gradient of the Carrigower River, which is designated a Site of Community Importance (SCI) (salmonids) as per EU Decision of 7 December 2004. 

3.      The underlying geology is highly permeable – there is no natural barrier in the sub-soils.

4.      Domestic residences lie immediately adjacent to the proposed landfill approximately 20m from the facility boundary and 40m from the landfill footprint.

5.      Furthermore, and mindful of the presence of illegally deposited waste on the applicants land, this decision complies with Government policy as articulated in Circular WIR: 04/05 (Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government), and the provisions of Article 8 (second indent) of Council Directive of 15 July 1975 on Waste (75/442/EEC, as amended).

All parties and the applicant can object to the proposed decision within a 28-day period.  The Board of the EPA will then make a final decision.

Notes to the Editor:

In view of the fact that the objection period has now commenced, the Environmental Protection Agency has no further comment to make.

The EPA received the licence application on 18 March 2004.  Further information was sought from the applicant and was received by the EPA, completing the application, on 30 May 2005. 

The proposed decision and inspector’s reports are available on the EPA website at

The waste licence application number is 204-1.

How the licensing process works.

1.      Given the complexity and scale of some waste activities, the EPA provides pre-application clarification and consultation so that applications are as complete as possible.

2.      Once received, the application is rigorously assessed by a team of experts from the Office of Licensing and Guidance.

3.      Extra information may be required from the applicant during this assessment.

4.      When the application is deemed complete, and has been fully assessed, the Office of Licensing and Guidance makes a recommendation on the application to the Board of Directors of the EPA.

5.      The Board assesses the recommendation, together with the application and all submissions, before making a decision.

6.      The Board’s decision, in the form of a Proposed Decision (PD), is notified to the applicant, all third parties who made a submission on the application and other statutory consultees.

7.      There follows a 28-day period when any person can submit an objection and request an oral hearing.  They can also make submissions on other objections.

8.      All objections and submissions on objections are considered by a Technical Committee of the Agency or through an oral hearing process.

9.      Any person who lodged a valid objection, as well as the applicant, and the local authority (where relevant) has an automatic right to attend and participate fully at a hearing.  All hearings are open to the public.  Members of the public can participate in the proceedings where they have lodged a valid objection or with the express approval of the Chairperson. 

10.  On completion of an oral hearing, the Chairperson will submit a report of the hearing to the EPA.  In this report, the Chairperson must make a recommendation to grant or refuse a licence.  Where the recommendation is to grant a licence, the Chairperson must outline the recommended conditions to be attached to the licence.

11.  The recommendations arising, together with the objections and submissions, are considered by the Board of Directors before making a final decision to either refuse a licence or to grant a licence with or without conditions.

12.  The Agency is debarred in law from granting a waste licence unless it is satisfied that the activity concerned, carried out in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to a licence, will not cause environmental pollution.