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EPA – Agri-Food Sector Needs To Improve Environmental Compliance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its Industrial and Waste Licence Enforcement Report for the year 2017. This report gives details of compliance levels and enforcement activities across the 800 licensed facilities during 2017.

The Food and Drink sector had the poorest compliance, including the most number of non-compliances and the highest number of prosecutions.

Key findings for 2017 were:-
Over 1500 site inspections were completed.
Unannounced were 91% of inspections.
Six sites were inspected 20 or more times.
In 2017, 22 prosecutions were concluded.
One Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) case concluded.
Over €374,000 in fines and costs were awarded.
Over 1000 complaints were received about licensed facilities.
Odour complaints decreased by 42% – Noise complaints increased by 68%

Commenting on the report Mr Gerard O’Leary, EPA Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement stated: “The EPA targets its enforcement efforts at the most non-compliant facilities. The publication of the National Priority Sites system last year has driven environmental compliance and seen much needed investment in environmental infrastructure. Over half of the sites who have appeared on the Priority Sites list have been convicted or are facing prosecution.”

Three Tipperary companies were amongst those prosecuted by the EPA in recent years.

Rosderra Irish Meats of Carrig, Roscrea were fined for failing to ensure emissions to sewer did not exceed permitted limits. (Fines & Charges amounted to €18,500)
Arrabawn Co-Operative Society, Nenagh, September 2017. (Fined €16,000)
Bord na Mona Fuels, Littleton, Thurles, in 2016.  (Fines & Charges in 2017 nearly €12,000).

The EPA has also published the latest National Priority Sites List for Enforcement today. Five sites (See below 1) are on the latest list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards. These companies face further enforcement action.

Four of the five sites are from the agri-food sector; this sector has accounted for almost half of all priority sites since publication last year.
Of the 19 sites published on the list since it commenced, 13 have either been convicted or now face prosecution.
Four sites have come off the previous National Priority Site List following improvements in compliance.

Ms Mary Gurrie, Programme Manager, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement commented:

“The National Priority Sites system has exceeded our expectations as a tool to drive environmental compliance. Companies have come off the list in the past year by improving operational practices or making significant investment in infrastructure. Sites in the agrifood sector have dominated the list (11 of 19 sites) and compliance in this sector needs to improve.”

1  The following are the National Priority Sites for January – June 2018.
[ The EPA will update the National Priority Sites list, on a quarterly basis.]
Reg. No. P0812-01  –  Arrow Group  –  Co. Kildare.
Reg. No. P0815-02  –  Lacpatrick Dairies Limited  –  Co. Monaghan.
Reg. No. P0180-02  –  Rosderra Irish Meats Group (Edenderry) –  Co. Offaly.
Reg. No. W0136-03  –  Starrus Eco Holdings Limited (Munster) –  Co. Cork.

Reg. No. P0831-01  – Western Brand Group Limited  –  Co. Mayo.

Licensed facilities are identified as National Priority Sites for enforcement, using a system developed by the EPA. Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months. Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a National Priority Site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action.

The National Priority Sites for Enforcement system was launched by the EPA in July 2017 to drive further environmental compliance at industrial and waste facilities.

Further details of the National Priority Sites scoring system and the list of sites can be found here National Priority Sites :: Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland.

Enforcement information on all sites can be found under the Licence Search pages at www.epa.ie.

Complaints about licensed sites can be made on-line or by contacting the EPA at Tel: 053-9160600.

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