EPA calls on local authorities to target inspections to improve air quality

Local authorities need to target inspections to control the burning of solid fuel, to lessen the 1,500 premature deaths a year in Ireland associated with air pollution...

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

EPA calls on local authorities to target inspections to improve air quality

Smoky coal

The Environmental Protection Agency has called on local authorities to target inspections to improve air quality and management of waste tyres and food waste.

They say local authorities need to target inspections to control the burning of solid fuel, to lessen the 1,500 premature deaths associated with air pollution and improve management of key waste streams including waste tyres and waste food.

In Kilkenny, the local authority received an “Excellent” grade for their environmental enforcement performance.

The EPA released a review earlier this month of local authority performance for 2014-2016.

The review found evidence of improving local authority enforcement activity nationwide during this period.

Darragh Page, Programme Manager, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “This report provides evidence of improvements in environmental performance by the local authorities who hold significant and wide-ranging enforcement responsibilities in this area.

“It also maps out where improvements can be targeted, both nationally and locally. To protect our health and the environment, we are recommending that local authorities target inspections particularly to improve air quality and manage our waste streams to increase recycling levels."

The review found that in 2016 local authorities undertook 140,000 environmental inspections, 15,000 enforcement actions and 400 prosecutions, and handled 60,000 environmental complaints such as illegal dumping, water pollution, air and noise complaints.

Improving the management of waste tyres, to reduce the number of illegally dumped tyres around the countryside and minimise toxic fire threats are among the many measures the EPA have asked Councils to look at.

Valerie Doyle, Senior Inspector in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “Local authorities need to specify how their inspections will improve our environment and our health in their plans for 2018.

“Targeting inspections in areas where improvements are clearly needed, such as reducing harmful air pollutants from burning smoky coal, will improve our environment and our health.”