EPA seeks ‘targeted farm inspections’ following new report

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today released its report on local authority environmental enforcement performance for 2018.

The report shows that local authorities have increased their enforcement activities, with 168,000 inspections being undertaken in 2018, together with almost 20,000 enforcement actions and over 850 prosecutions initiated.

However, the report also found that farm inspections had reduced by 650 and the EPA has recommended that the number of inspections be returned to previous levels, at a minimum.

The EPA also recommends that farm inspections should be targeted at areas where water quality is at risk.

While focused on the work of local authorities, the EPA highlighted that the public has “a pivotal role” in addressing these environmental issues.

Continuing, the report noted that local authorities managed over 78,000 environmental complaints during the year.

Commenting on the document, Dr. Tom Ryan, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, said: “This report shows overall good performance by the local authorities in undertaking their environmental enforcement functions, however there are areas where improvements are needed.

There is also an opportunity to improve information sharing between enforcement agencies to ensure that illegal waste activities are identified and tackled.

“The EPA will be engaging with local authorities to make this a priority in 2020,” he concluded.

Commenting on the report, senior inspector Valerie Doyle said: “We all need to play our part addressing the environmental challenges facing us.

This can include making sure we segregate our wastes at home and at work so that as much as possible is recycled.

“From an enforcement perspective, the public should take responsibility for reporting environmental pollution by using the EPA’s SEE IT SAY IT smartphone app or by calling the National Environmental Complaints Line on: 1850 365 121 or their local authority.”

The report is available on the EPA’s website.