EPA Annual Report for year ended 31 December 2007

Date released: Jul 23 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published its Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2007.  In providing an overview of the Report to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment & Local Government, the EPA’s Director General, Dr Mary Kelly, said:

"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."

The Report sets out the main activities undertaken by each Office of the EPA during 2007.  A major milestone for the EPA in 2007 was the publication of its new corporate strategy called 2020Vision.  Commenting on the strategy, Dr. Kelly said:

"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. She added:

"there are many organisations in Ireland with environmental protection responsibilities and achieving the long-term goals set out in 2020Vision will require the active cooperation and participation of these organisations.  The recent OECD Report points the way towards greater integration of public services and improved networking to deliver better services to the public and this approach is essential if we are to make progress on the many environmental protection and sustainable development issues that we face".

In 2007, the EPA was also given a greater role in water protection and management.   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.  Commenting on these developments, Dr. Kelly said

"I welcome the enhanced role for the EPA in regulating drinking water supply and waste water treatment.  Water is one of our most precious resources and to ensure a safe and secure supply of drinking water for our citizens we must ensure that the quality of our freshwaters is safeguarded.  These new Regulations tighten up controls in this important area and will drive improvements both in water quality and drinking water quality".

Looking to the future, Dr. Kelly commented

"it is important that environmental protection and sustainable development issues remain centre stage.  To achieve our vision for Ireland’s environment of clean air, protected water resources, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, protected soil and biodiversity and sustainable use of resources requires full integration of environment into other economic and social policy areas and rigorous enforcement of environmental legislation".

Download the EPA Annual Report 2007.

Further information: EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or email at media@epa.ie