Roche gives waste policy new direction

A policy direction to target the management of illegally deposited waste has been issued this week by Irish Environment Minister Dick Roche, TD.

In a move to show his commitment to waste issues, the Minister will be using his power under the Waste Management Act to take action against those who engage in this anti-social and criminal behaviour.

"We cannot tolerate the way illegal operators have been allowed to get away with their crimes and am calling for much tougher action from the enforcement authorities," Mr Roche stated.

"I am calling for a series of robust actions to deal with the illegal operators and to get the message across that people should not get away with illegal dumping. There should be no profit in illegal activities."

The Minister's decision is timely, coming a week after the European Court of Justice announced a judgement against Ireland for breaking EU waste regulations (see related story).

According to Mr Roche, the policy direction, which will vastly improve waste management in Ireland, will act as a "shot across the bows" for authorities that are behind in their statutory duties, as well as a signal to the illegal operators that their activities will not be tolerated.

Moreover, the Minister has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that certain sites are to be given particular consideration, such as:

  • Land near to existing or planned residential development, and educational facilities
  • Wetlands
  • Natural Heritage Areas, Candidate Special Areas of Conservation, or Special Protection Areas
  • Places of general special interest, such as high amenity areas

    Emphasis has also been placed on the agreement of the EPA to reinforce this policy direction with a detailed code of practice, using its power under the Environmental Protection Act.

    "I will not accept excuses for inaction," Mr Roche warned. "The law has been significantly strengthened, and it needs be will be strengthened again. Substantial additional enforcement resources have been provided and I want to see verifiable action on the ground."

    "The Office of Environmental Enforcement will monitor closely the implementation of this policy direction, and will take whatever additional action they deem appropriate to secure its objectives."

    By Jane Kettle

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