EPA enforcement efforts targeted unauthorised peat extraction, waste management and water quality issues in 2021

  • The EPA carried out 1,295 inspections at EPA licensed sites during the year, a 19 per cent increase compared with 2020. 
  • The EPA carried out a number of targeted enforcement campaigns in 2021 including:
  • 48 inspections at unauthorised peat extraction sites 
  • 41 inspections at waste licensed sites, with a focus on improving fire risk management
  • The removal of 14 sites from the EPA’s Water Framework Directive Significant Pressure list.
  • Eleven sites were identified as National Priority Sites in 2021, a decrease from the twelve sites in 2020. Eight of these 11 National Priority Sites were from the Food & Drink and Intensive Agriculture sectors. 

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its’ annual summary report on the enforcement activities carried out in 2021, along with the list of sites which were designated a National Priority Site during the year.This report shows that, despite the ongoing significant challenges and impact of Covid-19, the EPA increased our enforcement activities at industrial and waste licences at the 840 licenced installations throughout Ireland. The report published today highlights the main issues at licensed activities during 2021 and outlines what actions the EPA took to enforce environmental conditions at these activities.  Individuals or companies who operate either without an EPA licence or breach that licence were targeted by the EPA for enforcement. The role of the public in reporting non-compliant or illegal operations to the EPA is a vital tool in helping us to address the environmental issues that may result and we encourage the public to report any concerns to the EPA.
Commenting on the publication of the annual summary report, Dr. Tom Ryan, Director, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: 
“The EPA focused its enforcement efforts in 2021 on tackling unauthorised extraction of peat, improving water quality downstream of licenced sites and the safe and appropriate management of waste.
Our enforcement activities are risk based and are targeted at sites that are not complying with their EPA licence requirements.  We carried out almost 1,300 inspections of industrial and waste licensed activities and a further 55 inspections of unauthorised activities which require a licence or must cease operation.” 

The EPA has also published the latest National Priority Sites List for 2021.  The number of National Priority Sites in 2021 (11) was down slightly when compared with 2020 (12).  The EPA will continue to focus its resources where they are most needed and to ensure compliance at all sites.Commenting on the publication, Mr. Darragh Page, Programme Manager, EPA Office of Environmental Enforcement said: 
‘The eleven sites on the National Priority Sites List in 2021 were the subject of targeted enforcement action.  This represents around one per cent of the total sites licensed by the EPA. Sites from the food and drink and intensive agriculture sector made up almost three quarters of the sites on the National Priority Sites List during 2021.
These sectors must improve if Ireland is to support its green image of sustainable food and drink production.
Our enforcement objective is to ensure these sites resolve the environmental issues and for the sites to return to compliance.”

The report ‘Industrial and Waste Licence Enforcement Summary 2021’ is now available on the EPA website.
The full list of National Priority Sites for 2021 is in Table 1 below. 

Arran Chemical Company LimitedRoscommonChemicalAir emissions and groundwater contamination
Arrow GroupKildareFood & DrinkOdour & noise
Ballyguyroe Landfill Site (Cork Co Co)CorkLandfillLandfill gas and leachate management
Diageo Ireland (St. James Gate)DublinFood & DrinkNoise emissions
Hermitage Farms Ltd (Clifden)KilkennyIntensive AgricultureOdour emissions
North Cork Co-Op Creameries LtdCorkFood & DrinkEmissions to water
Saint-Gobain Construction Products (Ireland) LtdMonaghanMineral extractionEmissions to water
Staunton Foods LtdCorkFood & DrinkNoise emissions
Timoleague Agri Gen LtdCorkIntensive AgricultureSite management & lack of required infrastructure
Tipperary Co-operative Creamery LtdTipperaryFood & DrinkEmissions to water
Western Brand Group Unlimited CompanyMayoFood & DrinkEmissions to water

*Arrow Group Limited includes the activities at this licensed site of Dawn Farm Foods Ltd, TCFG Naas Ltd (also known as The Culinary Food Group), QK Coldstores Ltd, Dawn Farms Distribution Ltd and Maudlins Waste Management Ltd.

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. It is based on the previous six months enforcement history at all licensed sites. Find out more here.
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 EPA updates the National Priority Sites list on a quarterly basis.Further details of the National Priority Sites scoring system and the list of sites can be found online.Enforcement information on all sites can be found under the Licence Search pages of the EPA website. In addition we publish quarterly updates on the enforcement activities of the EPA.
Complaints about licensed sites can be made online or by contacting the EPA at 053-9160600.

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