A collection of frequently asked questions on air activities to assist you with your queries.
How and why we monitor dioxins in Ireland?
Direct measurement for dioxins in ambient air is extremely difficult and no limits have been set in the EU CAFE Directive. The most appropriate method for assessing dioxin exposure in the air is to sample Dioxin levels in cows’ milk samples taken during the grazing season. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has carried out a number of such surveys, at almost identical locations in the form of separate reports. These can be used as indicators for the actual average local dioxin exposure by atmospheric deposition. Studies/surveys have been carried out since 1995. The main source of dioxins is the illegal burning of waste. Maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin like PCBs and non‐dioxin‐like PCBs in foodstuffs including milk, are governed by Regulation, EU 1259/2011. The results of the surveys are reported in the annual air quality in Ireland reports on the air pages of www.epa.ie
Why is air quality important?
Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 400,000 premature deaths are attributable to poor air quality in Europe annually. In Ireland, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution is estimated at 1,300 people (Air Quality in Europe 2020, EEA) and is mainly due to cardiovascular disease. The WHO has described air pollution as the ‘single biggest environmental health risk’.
I have observed a contractor spraying pesticides in a public area not taking any safety precautions to protect the public - who to contact
You will need to contact the Pesticide Registration & Control Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine for advice on this matter.
Further information is available here: http://www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/sud/professionaluserssprayeroperators/
What are the main pollutants of concern to the environment and human health?
The ambient air quality pollutants of most concern on an EU-wide level are Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Particulate Matter (PM), Ozone (O3) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). They can impact on human health, ecosystems and vegetation and monitoring is carried out to determine their concentration levels.
When is the application of fertiliser (chemical, organic fertiliser (other than farmyard manure) and farmyard manure) to land prohibited?
The periods when the application of fertilisers to land is prohibited are specified in Schedule 4 of the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2014 as follows:
1. In counties Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow, the period during which the application of fertilisers to land is prohibited is the period from—
(a) 15 September to 12 January in the case of the application of chemical fertiliser
(b) 15 October to 12 January in the case of the application of organic fertiliser (other than farmyard manure)
(c) 1 November to 12 January in the case of the application of farmyard manure.
2. In counties Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath, the period during which the application of fertilisers to land is prohibited is the period from—
(a) 15 September to 15 January in the case of the application of chemical fertiliser
(b) 15 October to 15 January in the case of the application of organic fertiliser (other than farmyard manure)
(c) 1 November to 15 January in the case of the application of farmyard manure.
3. In counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan, the period during which the application of fertilisers to land is prohibited is the period from—
(a) 15 September to 31 January in the case of the application of chemical fertiliser
(b) 15 October to 31 January in the case of the application of organic fertiliser (other than farmyard manure)
(c) 1 November to 31 January in the case of the application of farmyard manure.
Frequently asked questions about Article 11, a mechanism by which an applicant can request a determination from the EPA as regards the most appropriate waste authorisation ((i.e. Waste Licence, Waste Facility Permit or Certificate of Registration, or none as the case may be) for a proposed activity.
If a local authority receives an application and has doubts about the appropriate waste authorisation for a proposed activity, the local authority can also request a determination from the EPA, in which case the local authority should not consider an application they have received until they have been notified of the Article 11 determination by the EPA.
What type of authorisation is required in Ireland for ship recycling?
For ship recycling which falls under the regulations, either a Waste Licence or an Industrial Emissions Licence is a suitable designated authorisation. In the case of proposed recycling of waste ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, where “Gross tonnage” means the gross tonnage (GT) calculated in accordance with the tonnage measurement regulations contained in Annex I to the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969, or any successor convention, a Class 4 and/or Class 10 Waste Facility Permit, in accordance with the Third Schedule of the Waste Management (Facility Permit and Registration) Regulations 2007, as amended, issued by a Local Authority is a suitable authorisation. The Process Flow Authorisation Chart below summarises the options.
What regulations cover Article 11?
Waste Management (Facility Permit and Registration) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 821 of 2007), as amended.
Could a landfill at a licensed site fall under class 11.1 instead of 11.5?
A landfill that is covered by the IED will be licensed as class 11.5. For a landfill to be class 11.1, it must be the following:
Further guidance will issue on how to decide if a landfill is covered by the IED.
When does Class 11.1 apply / not apply?
A Class 11.1 activity must have a connection or association with another activity at the same licenced site and can only be an ‘additional’ class of activity.
Class 11.1 is not an IED class of activity. Class 11.1 will generally only be applicable where there are non-IED classes of activity being carried on at a facility in addition to IED classes of activity. Class 11.1 can be associated with any other IED activity, and not just other class 11 waste activities. It is therefore not the case that Class 11.1 can be the only class applying to your activity.
Class 11.1 is the 'recovery or disposal of waste in a facility, within the meaning of the Act of 1996, which facility is connected or associated with another activity specified in this Schedule in respect of which a licence or revised licence under Part IV is in force or in respect of which a licence under the said Part is or will be required'.
Is there always a corresponding class of activity under the Industrial Emissions Directive for activities under the Waste Management Act?
The Industrial Emissions Directive has introduced a new type of licensing. Whereas in the past we had waste licences under the Waste Management Act as amended and IPPC licences under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 as amended we now have a third type of licence - the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) licence. Under the IED there is a new set of capacity thresholds (perhaps daily or annual capacity thresholds) which bring activities under the control of the IED and the thresholds may depend on the intended destination of the waste. For example the composting of waste now has an associated threshold of 50 tonnes per day (Class 11.4(a)(i)) if the waste is destined for disposal but if the waste is intended for recovery, or a mix of disposal and recovery, then the threshold is 75 tonnes per day (Class 11.4(b)(i)).
Clearly then you will not find a direct correlation between classes of activity under IED and classes of activity under the Waste Management Act 1996 as amended.
A collection of frequently asked questions on EPA corporate activities to assist you with your queries.
What entitlement do I have to access information from the EPA?
The EPA is committed to a policy of openness and transparency. All monitoring results and environmental quality information is available for access by the public on our website. Information related to EPA licensing is also available to the public from our website or can be inspected in our offices. Copies of the information will also be provided but there may be a charge. Most information generated by the EPA is made publicly available through published reports. For further information, please see our pages on Access to Information on our website.
Does the EPA provide funding to PhD students?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does provide funding in support of Doctoral Scholarships. All research funding provided by the EPA, including that for doctoral scholarships, is awarded in response to calls for proposals issued by EPA STRIVE Programme. Calls for Doctoral scholarships are usually issued in March every year. Doctoral Scholarship proposals are normally submitted by College supervisors who if successful in their application then recruit a student to undertake the research. Any call for proposals will be advertised in the Research section of the EPA website and a notification will be sent to all 3rd level research offices.
A collection of frequently asked questions on drinking water to assist you with your queries.
View full details on drinking water
How do I disinfect my well?
This method is for the disinfection of a well water supply, water storage tank, water carrying pipe work and hot and cold-water cylinders. Approximately 1,100 litres of water will be used.
Caution: if you have a filter or any other type of water treatment on any part of your system, consult your supplier before following this procedure. Heavily chlorinated water may affect the filter or the chlorine may be absorbed by the filter rendering the procedure ineffective.
1. To 25 litres of water add 5 litres of a 1% w/v solution of Sodium Hypochlorite. While we do not endorse any individual products, any one of the following products may be used diluted in 25 litres of water.
(a) 2.5 litres of Milton fluid (or 50 tablets) or similar products with 2% w/v Sodium Hypochlorite.
(b) 0.5 litres of Sterichlor or similar products with 10/11% Sodium Hypochlorite.
Disinfection products sold for use on the farm will be acceptable for use in disinfecting wells. However, it is important to seek advice about their use and it is advisable to always use the products in about 25 litres of water.
2. Pour half of the solution into the well.
3. Turn on the drinking water tap in the kitchen and let the water run until there is a distinct smell of chlorine from the water. Then turn off the tap.
4. Turn on all other taps and let the water run until there is a distinct smell of chlorine from the water. Then turn off the taps.
5. Pour the other half of the solution into the well. Turn off the well pump and ensure that the well is covered properly. Allow to stand overnight or for at least 8 hours.
6. After at least 8 hours reconnect the pump. Turn on all taps and let the water run until the smell of chlorine is gone. Turn off all taps.
7. Arrange for the water to be tested.
N.B. This method is only suitable as a once off shock disinfecting procedure and cannot replace a proper treatment system if your water supply needs continuous disinfection.
My water becomes discoloured sometimes, is this something I should be concerned about?
Yes, if your water becomes discoloured at certain times (e.g. after heavy rainfall or when slurry is spread on land nearby) then it is possible that surface water is getting into your well which is likely to be contaminated. You should get your well tested when it becomes discoloured. If you suspect that your well is contaminated with infectious organisms (bacteria / bugs / germs), you should boil your water before using it for drinking, washing teeth, preparing food and making ice until you know that the water supply is safe.
I think my well is being contaminated by nearby activity, what can I do?
The first step is to talk to your neighbour about the suspected cause of contamination. It may be that your neighbour is unaware of the location of your well or the consequences of their actions. If this fails you should make your complaint in writing to the relevant local authority or use the EPA “See It, Say It” app to report the incident.
My well is contaminated what should I do?
You should check your well to see if there are any obvious signs of contamination such as recent landspreading or cattle too close to your well. Protecting the catchment area of your well is one of the best ways to protect the quality of your water. You should also check to see is there any ingress of water into the borehole.
If your well is contaminated with E. coli or Coliform Bacteria you should boil the drinking water from the well until you are sure it is safe to drink and cook with.
You should sterilise your well (see How do I disinfect my well question) and see if this resolves the contamination (after retesting). If this is not successful in restoring the quality of your water you may need to consider improving the protection of your well and/or installing an appropriate treatment system. Once-off disinfection cannot replace a treatment system if your supply is always or often contaminated.
If your well is contaminated with a chemical parameter you should contact your local authority for advice in the first instance.
You may also consider connecting to a public or group water scheme.
My water looks and tastes great, does that mean it is safe to drink?
No, it does not mean it is safe to drink. Some contaminants such as E. coli may not cause your water to be discoloured. It is advisable to get your well tested once per year (ideally during poor weather conditions).
If your water is occasionally or frequently discoloured it may be an indication that your well is contaminated from time to time. It is advisable to get your well tested the next time it becomes discoloured and consider boiling that water until you are sure it is safe.
Just because the usual householders are not getting sick, doesn't mean that the well is safe. Visitors may be more susceptible to low level contamination because they may not have developed immunity to the infectious organisms that may be in your well.
A list of frequently asked questions about how to register, administration activities and other queries on the EDEN portal.
How do I report complaints through EDEN?
Most licenses don't require reporting to the EPA of each complaint received directly at the facility, but instead require a summary of complaints to be included as part of general licence reporting (e.g. quarterly or annual reports (AER)). So for this reason there is no facility for you to directly report a complaint through the Manage Complaints button in EDEN.
If your licence specifically requires you to report these complaints or if your inspector has told you to do this, you can send complaints in under "Make a Return" button, Document Type "Site Update/Notification", Subtype "other". You may need to check with your inspector to clarify the requirement.
Can I search/filter by date/year?
Currently filtering and reporting functionality is limited in "Manage my Licence" on the EDEN portal.
How do I update an existing incident notification (an incident that I have already logged on AM on EDEN)?
It is important that updates to previously logged incident notifications are done by going back to the original incident notification record and not by creating a new incident record. To do this you should navigate to “Manage Incidents” on Licence page in AM, select the incident record that you want to update and click on “Edit Incident” icon. You will then be presented with a web form to amend or add details to the incident notification. If the particular piece of information that you want to update is not available to on the web form, please use the notes section to enter the details of the update. Files can also be uploaded as part of the incident update.
How do I reply to a Request for Information (RFI)?
RFIs must be replied to by navigating to the original Licensee Return or Complaint record in AM on EDEN. This can be done by going to the “Manage my Licensee Returns” or “Manage Complaints” tab on the licence page in AM opening the relevant record and clicking on the RFI. Alternatively you can go directly to the RFI in the “My Notifications” tab on AM. Replies to RFIs will not be accepted as Licensee Returns.
I want to submit a quarterly monitoring report. Do I have to break it down into separate Returns by emission receptor (eg air, water, sewer etc)?
Yes, monitoring reports need to be broken out into their constituent sections and submitted individually as Licensee Returns. A summary of each set of results reported should be given as part of the return. Failure to do this will result in the Returns being rejected by the EPA.
Frequently asked questions about environmental assessment.
View the full details on Environmental assessment.
What is the difference between EIA and EIS?
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process for anticipating the effects on the environment caused by a proposed development or project at a particular site. Where effects are unacceptable, design or other measures can be taken to avoid or reduce these to acceptable levels. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a document produced in the course of this process. The EIS is assessed by the regulatory authorities.
Frequently asked questions about Climate Change
Who do I contact to report cutting/burning/destruction of hedgerows during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife?
In Ireland, hedgerows are of exceptional importance as habitats, particularly for birds but also for wildflowers, shrubs and trees and provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife and enhance the diversity of nature in our countryside.
Cutting, burning, or destruction of hedgerows is restricted during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife between the 1st March and the 31st August except for certain exemptions (Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Heritage Act 2018) These restrictions apply to private land-users, local authorities, public bodies and contractors.
You can report details of unlawful cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction to the local Conservation Rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Reported instances will, as far as practicable, be investigated. Your local NPWS Office can be found through the NPWS website.
How is Ireland adapting to Climate Change?
Planning for a Climate Resilient Ireland, Ireland's first statutory National Adaptation Framework (NAF) was approved in 2018. The NAF sets out the national strategy to reduce the vulnerability of the country to the negative effects of climate change and to avail of any positive impacts. The NAF was developed under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 and prepared in the context of the 2013 EU strategy on adaptation to climate change.
The NAF builds on the work already carried out under the 2012 National Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF). The NAF outlines a whole of government and society approach to climate adaptation in Ireland. Under the NAF a number of Government Departments are required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans in relation to a priority area that they are responsible for. Local authorities are required to prepare local adaptation strategies. The NAF will be reviewed at least once every five years. The NAF also aims to improve the enabling environment for adaptation through ongoing engagement with civil society, the private sector and the research community.
The 12 priority sectors and all local authorities now have climate change adaptation plans and strategies in place. These were published in 2019 and will be reviewed at least once every five years.
For more on national, sectoral and local adaptation see the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
For more adaptation information and climate data see Ireland’s climate information platform, Climate Ireland.
What impacts of climate change have been observed and what is projected?
In 2018, the global temperature had been increased by 1.0°C relative to pre-industrial levels. At the current rate of warming, the world is expected to reach 1.5°C warming between 2030 and 2052 (IPCC, 2008). If this continues, the 2°C increase could occur around 2060. Globally the two main features of climate change are:
For Ireland, by 2050 (mid-century) mean annual temperatures are projected to increase by between 1 and 1.2℃, and between 1.3 and 1.6℃ depending on the emissions trajectory. Heatwave events are expected to increase by mid-century and this will have a direct impact on public health and mortality. These changes may affect the life cycle (phenological) phases in many plant and animal species. By mid-century there are projected increases in both dry periods and heavy precipitation events, meaning we will have to consider increased flood risk as well as droughts. There is also the possibility that, although average wind speed may decrease, the intensity of individual storms may increase.
Building performance will be challenged by a changing climate, needing to cope with more extreme summer temperatures, intense rainfall events and potential changes in wind and storm patterns. This will require appropriate design and building standards, but also adaptation of existing building stock.
As our climate changes, it will create new conditions that may allow existing pests and diseases to spread and new threats to become established in Ireland. Our infrastructure systems are likely to be impacted by an increase in disruptive events and our water quality and supply might be affected.
Global mean sea level rise by 2100 is likely to be in the range of 0.29m to 1.10m (depending on the emissions scenario) and sea levels will continue to rise far beyond the year 2100.
Predicted changes in mean sea level will be magnified by changing storm surge and wave patterns in coastal areas. Sea level rise varies regionally but increasing sea levels around Ireland would result in increased coastal erosion, flooding and damage to property and infrastructure. High-resolution mid-century climate projections for Ireland were published by the EPA in 2020 and are available at Climate Ireland.
What is the greenhouse effect?
The greenhouse effect is the name given to the process whereby the energy which has arrived from the Sun can warm the planet to temperatures well above those which would be expected if there was no atmosphere present. A very simplified explanation of how this works is as follows:
The Sun’s energy is either reflected back into space or passes through the atmosphere to be absorbed at the surface of the Earth. The absorbed energy warms the surface, producing thermal radiation, heating the atmosphere from below. On its way back to space, the thermal energy is captured by certain gases in the atmosphere, and this heats the atmosphere further. These gases are called greenhouse gases. This simple explanation is illustrated in the image below.
Greenhouse gases (ghg), although they constitute only a small fraction of the atmosphere, their impact on climate is very important. Without greenhouse gases, the Earth’s surface would have an average temperature of -18oC, too cold for life as we know it. Instead the average temperature at the surface of the Earth is approximately +15oC. Changing the atmospheric concentration of these greenhouse gases and other particles in the atmosphere can lead to a warming or cooling of the climate system.
The IPCC provides the detailed explanation of the Greenhouse Effect.
For more information on this topic, see Chapter 2: Observations: Atmosphere and Surface, of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Working Group 1, The Physical Science Basis (2013)
Is the EPA responsible for wildlife and protecting natural habitats?
The EPA is responsible for reporting on nature conservation in its 'State of the Environment' reports. However, responsibility for nature conservation lies with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) is part of the Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government and is charged with the conservation of a range of habitats and species in Ireland. Some of its most important activities include:
Designation and protection of Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) & Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and,
Managing and developing our National Parks and Nature Reserves.
For further information please go to the National Parks and Wildlife Service website.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol provide the basis for international action to address climate change. The objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system. The ability of the international community to achieve this objective is dependent on an accurate knowledge of emissions trends, and on our collective ability to alter these trends. Reliable GHG inventories are essential, both at national and international level. Parties to the convention and its Kyoto Protocol are committed to developing and publishing the national emission inventories of GHGs which is a key element of assessing progress towards meeting commitments and targets.
The EPA has overall responsibility for the national greenhouse gas inventory in Ireland's national system and compiles Ireland's national greenhouse gas emission inventory on an annual basis.
Emissions data for the following gases is reported on an annual basis: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perflurocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
The National Climate Change Strategy (2007) designated the EPA with responsibility for developing national emission projections for greenhouse gases for all key sectors of the economy. Emission projections serve to inform national policy initiatives and allow Ireland to comply with EU and UN reporting obligations on emissions projections. The EPA produces national greenhouse gas emission projections on an annual basis.
What do WEM and WAM scenarios in emissions projections mean?
The WEM scenario is a projection of future emissions based on the measures currently implemented and actions committed to by Government. To become part of the WEM scenario a policy or measure must be in place by the end of 2021 (the latest inventory year) and the projected emissions reduction is commensurate with the resources or legislation already in place or committed to Government Departments or Agencies. For example, the WEM scenario includes a measure where the Carbon tax increases annually and reaches €100 per tonne by 2030. This policy is considered to be implemented because annual Carbon tax increases have been committed to in legislation (Finance Act 2020).
The WAM scenario is the projection of future emissions based on the measures outlined in the latest Government plans at the time Projections are compiled. This includes all policies and measures included in the WEM scenario, plus those included in government plans but not yet implemented. For example, the WAM scenario includes the target of 945,000 Electric Vehicles on the road by 2030 in the Climate Action Plan 2023. The full amount of this ambition is not currently in the With Existing Measures scenario as actions still remain to be taken that would deliver it.
Further information on the policies and measures for the individual sectors that are included in both With Existing Measures and With Additional Measures scenarios in the latest emissions projections is available in Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2022-2040.
What F-gases are in greenhouse gas inventories and projections?
These gases comprise HFCs (hydroflurocarbons), PFCs (perfluorcarbons), SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) and NF3 (nitrogen trifluoride). They are much more potent than the naturally occurring greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide).
Global warming potential of greenhouse gases in the inventories and projections;
Carbon dioxide (CO2) GWP = 1
Methane (CH4) GWP = 28
Nitrous oxide (N2O) GWP = 265
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) GWP = 4 to 12,400
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) GWP = 6630 to >17,400
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) GWP = 23,500
Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) GWP = 16,100
The mass emission of any gas multiplied by its GWP gives the equivalent emission of the gas as carbon dioxide. This is known as CO2 equivalent. This makes it easier to sum up the emissions and contribution of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) to climate change and determine options to address climate change.
What do these maps depict?
The maps depict estimates of the percentage of adult residents of Ireland (age 18 and over) who hold particular beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences about climate change. The estimates were generated from a statistical model that incorporates actual survey responses but combines these responses with demographic data from the Ireland Central Statistics Office (CSO) (Census 2016 Reports - CSO - Central Statistics Office) to estimate opinions for different groups of people based on information such as their gender, age, and county of residence.
Where do the survey data underlying the estimates come from?
The data underlying the maps come from a large national survey dataset (4,000 respondents) collected during May through July of 2021 as part of a collaboration between the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC). Reports using the individual-level survey data are available here:
What does the grey colour mean on some of the bars beneath the maps?
The grey area reflects people who provided valid responses such as refusal to answer a question, saying they “Don’t know,” or gave an answer that was not modeled (e.g., “Currently doing the right amount”). We do not provide specific values for the grey areas because we did not develop estimates for these particular responses.
Frequently asked questions about compliance.
The National Priority Sites system allows the EPA to identify which industrial and waste licensed sites should be prioritised for enforcement based on their environmental performance.
The list is used to target the EPA’s enforcement effort at the poorest performing sites in order to drive improvements in environmental compliance.
How can a site get off the National Priority Sites List?
A National Priority Site must address the environmental issues and restore compliance in order to reduce its score.
What happens to a site that is on the National Priority List?
The EPA is using the National Priority Sites to focus its enforcement effort at the worst performing sites. Sites that appear on the list are subject to an escalation of enforcement action by the EPA, up to and including legal action, suspension or revocation.
How does a licensed site know their score?
Licensed sites are informed in writing when they are on the National Priority Site List.
All licensed sites can calculate their score based on the compliance information available to them.
What time period is used to compile the score?
The National Priority Sites List is produced by the EPA on a quarterly basis based on data for the previous 6 months.
What score does a National Priority Site have to achieve?
A site becomes a National Priority Site when it has a total score of more than 30 points and a CI score of 10 points or more.
The Medium Combustion Plant Regulations were signed into law in December 2017. Their purpose is to limit emissions to atmosphere from boilers and other stationary combustion plants in the 1-50 MWth (thermal input) range. It covers all fuel types. The Regulations transpose the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive ((EU) 2015/2193) which was adopted in 2015.
The regulations limit the level of emissions allowable from new combustion plants from 20th December 2018, while operators of existing MCPs will have longer to comply with stricter emission standards. This will assist in limiting the impact on human health, vegetation and biodiversity which can be caused by air pollution.
Where do I go with additional queries?
Please send any additional queries to email@example.com using the subject heading ‘Medium Combustion Plant’.
What are the EPA requirements for monitoring emissions from MCP?
Monitoring of emissions to atmosphere
The European Union (Medium Combustion Plants) Regulations 2017 require that periodic monitoring of emissions to atmosphere from medium combustion plants is carried out. Air emissions sampling and analysis is a particularly difficult aspect of environmental monitoring, and specialist equipment is required to be used. Both the sampling and analysis stages of air emissions monitoring require a high level of competency and quality control. Most MCP facilities will not carry out their own air emissions monitoring, but will instead employ a specialist contractor to carry out the monitoring and provide a report, which can be submitted to the EPA. The EPA generally supports the approach of using external specialist service providers, and would not recommend that facilities attempt to carry out their own air emissions monitoring.
In order to ensure the generation of consistent, high quality and robust monitoring data from MCP facilities, it is a mandatory requirement that all air emissions monitoring carried out is performed by an ISO 17025 accredited air monitoring contractor. Accredited air emission monitoring contractors operating in Ireland either receive their accreditation from the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), or else they operate under the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
The details of the INAB ISO 17025 accredited air emissions monitoring contractors are as follows:
The Irish-based contractors who hold UKAS ISO17025 accreditation for air emissions monitoring are as follows:
You must ensure that the air monitoring contractor you intend to use for EPA compliance monitoring holds ISO17025 accreditation. The EPA will not accept monitoring results from a monitoring contractor, who does not hold accreditation to the ISO17025 standard.
What do MCP operators need to do now?
Anyone operating or planning to operate an MCP should ensure that they understand the obligations of the Regulations, in particular, the applicable ELVs. Pay attention to the associated footnotes, and the various exemptions and derogations that may be applicable.
Operators planning to buy or install new MCP should ensure that new plants are specified to meet the ‘new plant’ ELVs set out in Schedule 2 Part 2 of the Regulations.
Operators of existing MCPs should monitor SO2, NOx, dust and CO emissions to determine whether specific measures will be required to achieve compliance. These operators have until January 2025 (5- 50 MWth) or January 2030 (1 – 5 MWth) to achieve compliance.
Are there any other exemptions or derogations?
There is a range of exemptions, derogations, and variations from the default limit values, which are set out in Regulations 11, 12 and 13, and in the footnotes in Schedule 2.
What about emergency generators?
The regulations make special provision for MCP such as emergency generators, which operate intermittently or rarely. Where these MCP operate less than 500 hours per year (as a rolling average over 5 years), they are exempt from some of the specified ELVs but there is still a requirement [Schedule 3, Part 1] to measure carbon monoxide. Where necessary, for environmental protection, the regulations allow the EPA to reduce this number of hours in specific circumstances for specific plant (similar to the provisions for reducing ELVs). [See Regulations 13(1), 13(3) and 20(4)(c)].
A collection of frequently asked questions about monitoring and assessment to assist you with your queries.
popular FAQs about freshwater & marine
Where can I find information on water quality for my local river or lake?
I want to help look after my local river or lake. What should I do?
The Local Authority Waters Progamme has Community Water Officers all around the country who work with local people to build awareness, help build group capacity, support training and citizen science initiatives and strengthen links between public bodies, funders and communities who are looking after their rivers, lakes and other waters.
To whom do I report pollution such as: fish kill; forest fire; oil spillage?
Pollution incidents should be reported in the first instance to the local authority in whose area the incident occurred as they can respond rapidly. The Local Authority will contact the Environmental Protection Agency if an EPA licensed activity is concerned.
If you know it is an EPA licensed activity you should contact the EPA directly as well as the Local Authority.
This link has the full details about how to Make an Environmental Complaint
Fish kills: To report fish kills, members of the public are encouraged to call Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.
Forest Fire: If you need to report a forest fire please dial 999 and ask for Fire Services. You will be put through to one of the national call centres who will record the necessary details.
Where can I find information on bathing water quality at my local beach?
Before going to the beach you can check beaches.ie to see the latest bathing water quality (excellent, good, sufficient or poor) and find out if there are any current warnings or advice against swimming notices.
• At the beach or lake – lifeguards will fly the red flags when bathing waters are considered unsafe for bathing. You can check out the notice boards to see the latest water quality and if any warnings or advice against bathing notices have been posted by the local authorities.
• The 48-hour rule after heavy rain – swimming after heavy rainfall carries an added risk of pollution from surface runoff and is best avoided for 48 hours. Further information can be found on www.beaches.ie/protect-your-health-with-the-48-hour-rule/
• @EPABeaches – You can follow the @EPABeaches Twitter account and receive tweets of news and information on bathing waters and tweets of when bathing water incidents start and are over.
Microplastics - do they have an impact on water quality?
Microplastics are a newly identified contaminant in water sources, including drinking water sources, across the world. Microplastics are very tiny (<5 mm) pieces of plastic which can come from a variety of different materials.
As microplastics are an emerging water quality issue, the impact of them on people’s health has not yet been fully assessed and determined. There is currently no water quality standard for microplastics in the Drinking Water Regulations. However, the EPA is keeping a close eye on European and Irish research in this area, and there may be a standard set in the future.
Environmental noise is 'unwanted sound' arising from all areas of human activity such as noise from transport, industrial and recreational activities. Excessive noise can:
What is environmental noise?
Environmental noise is 'unwanted sound' arising from all areas of human activity such as noise from transport, industrial and recreational activities. Excessive noise can:
In Ireland, we would normally consider noise complaints under four main categories:
What can I do about noise arising from public events?
Any event such as a concert or festival would normally require planning permission. However, in some cases, a particular venue may have prior approval to stage a set number of concerts/events per annum. The appropriate local authority (city/county council) should be contacted in relation to any planning conditions relating to noise for these once-off events
My neighbour's dog is barking, what can I do?
Initially, it may be sufficient to explain to the dog owner causing the noise that it's a nuisance and come to some mutually acceptable understanding.
However, persistent problems arising from barking dogs are covered under the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 & 1992. A copy of the Form used for complaints to the Courts about noise from dogs is available from your local authority (city/council).
What can I do about a noise nuisance?
There are a number of steps open to you under the law when you are experiencing a nuisance caused by noise. The procedures detailed below are designed to cover general neighbourhood type noise problems, such as continual noise from other houses home workshops, local businesses etc. The Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations, 1994 (S.I. No.179 of 1994) provide redress in the case of these types of problems. They are designed to allow straightforward access to the Courts by individuals or groups concerned about excessive noise.
When can I take action to deal with noise as a nuisance?
Whenever you consider noise to be so loud, so continuous, so repeated or of such duration or pitch, or occurring at such times that it gives you reasonable cause for annoyance you can initiate action to deal with it.
What action can I take?
Initially, it may be sufficient to explain to whoever is causing the noise that it is a nuisance and come to some mutually acceptable understanding. If this does not resolve the matter you will need to take the following steps: