The implementation and enforcement of environment legislation is one of the key responsibilities of the Council’s Environment Section.
In relation to waste activities, the principal piece of legislation is the Waste Management Act 1996, which has been amended on a number of occasions. Under the Act, it is the responsibility of the Council to monitor and inspect waste activities generally and to take appropriate enforcement action in respect of illegal activities.
Section 60 of the 1996 Act empowers the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to give general directions in writing to local authorities as to policy in relation to the performance by local authorities of their functions under the Act. Local authorities shall have regard to any directions given to them by the Minister, in accordance with same.
On 25 July 2008, such a policy direction under section 60 of the Act was issued by the Minister regarding action against illegal waste activity – the use of sanctions. Under this policy direction, the Environmental Protection Agency and local authorities are directed to prepare an Enforcement Policy in respect of Unauthorised Waste Activities which will encourage and promote systematic and consistent enforcement actions against illegal waste operators across the state as a whole and which will deliver effective, proportionate and dissuasive actions against such operators for the purposes of and to effect full compliance with Directive 2006/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste, which is known as the Waste Framework Directive. (Directive 2006/12/EC was revised and replaced by Directive 2008/98/EC)
The Minister’s Section 60 policy direction is aimed at further strengthening the Irish enforcement system in order to meet the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive. In particular, this direction requires the environment regulators (Environmental Protection Agency and local authorities) to prepare an enforcement policy, which should encourage and promote the following objectives:
- ensure effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, in a reasonable timescale against those involved in unauthorised waste activities;
- provide a coherent approach to sanctions, and their use;
- ensure that unauthorised waste activities are made subject to sanctions and not only sanctions aimed at their cessation;
- encourage criminal prosecutions at the highest appropriate level and particularly at circuit or high court level to ensure that the sanction is commensurate with the crime; and
- ensure the imposition of the landfill levy for illegally landfilled waste.
The Enforcement Policy for Unauthorised Waste Activities was finalised for Tipperary County Council in September 2014. This Enforcement Policy sets out the policy framework that the Environment Section uses when enforcing waste legislation.
If you have any queries in relation to this please contact the Environment Section by phone on 0761 06 5000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.