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EPA Release Report On Local Authority Environmental Enforcement Activities 2019.

River Suir, Barry’s Bridge, Central Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today released its report on local authority environmental enforcement activities for 2019.
  • There has been an increase in local authority inspection and enforcement activities relating to waste and litter.
  • Further action and coordination are needed to ensure compliance with air legislation, with a focus on fuels that are on sale and in use in low smoke zones.
  • More needs to be done to drive compliance nationally with water protection legislation, given the continuing decline in water quality.

The EPA has today released its report on local authority environmental enforcement activities for 2019. The EPA has seen an increase in both the numbers of inspections and enforcement actions taken by local authorities since 2018 with the bulk of these relating to waste and litter. Local authorities also managed a substantial volume of environmental complaints during the year. These again related predominantly to waste issues.

The EPA found that local authorities are taking account of national enforcement priorities in implementing their work, which is welcome. It did find, however, that additional focus is needed in both air enforcement and water protection.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, (Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement) stated:

“In looking across the range of enforcement activities, waste management is where most local authority activities are focused. This is not surprising given the breadth of their functions in this area relative to air enforcement. Good work has been completed by local authorities, working with the EPA, in developing the national air monitoring programme. However, considering the effect of air quality on human health and well-being, more action is needed on air enforcement.”

A substantial programme of water inspection was undertaken by the local authorities during the year and these water inspections and investigations led to over a thousand enforcement actions and a limited number of prosecutions during 2019.

Mr Andy Fanning, (Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement) stated:

“Local authorities continue to deliver their key role in national water sampling which is welcome as it provides data to inform action. This information, however, 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 applying enough resources to protect both human health and the environment and are taking effective enforcement action where non compliances are found.”

The EPA also highlights in the report that, while enforcement is necessary, all sectors of society have a role in making sure their actions do not pollute or damage our environment. Each household, organisation and business need to segregate and manage their wastes correctly, comply with low smoke zone requirements where they are in place, and make sure that their actions do not pollute waters.

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