EPA Local Authority Environmental Enforcement – Performance Report for 2022

This week the EPA published the Local Authority Environmental Enforcement – Performance Report for 2022. The report highlights the scale of the work carried out by 520 local authority staff who dealt with 70,000 complaints and carried out over 197,000 environmental inspections. The EPA assessed local authority performance against 120 national enforcement priorities in 4 thematic areas:

Air and Noise; Waste; Water Quality and Governance Processes.

Improvements on the 2021 enforcement performance was recorded overall, with 10 local authority areas achieving the target performance of 70% or more but 4 still lag by achieving only 30% or less. Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:

“Local authorities have a vital statutory responsibility in the protection of our local environment and are responsible for enforcing much of our environmental protection legislation. While the scale of environmental enforcement work carried out by local authorities is significant, in many areas it is not delivering the necessary environmental outcomes such as improved water and air quality and waste segregation.”

Whilst there has been progress made on improving water management practice, no significant improvement in water quality was recorded in 2022, more local authority farm inspections and enforcement is needed to reduce the impact of agricultural activities which is a significant impact on water quality in 1/4- of Ireland’s waterbodies.

The report made the following recommendations for local authorities:

➢Increase the number of farm inspections and follow up enforcement in areas of greatest risk to water quality.

➢ Increase the level of inspection activity on farmlands to monitor that there is no spreading of soiled water, slurry or fertiliser in the closed season or under unsuitable weather or soil conditions.

➢ Make sure that all private drinking water supplies are registered and monitored. Investigate supplies that fail to meet drinking water quality standards and take necessary enforcement action.

➢ Increase enforcement actions, including prosecution where warranted, to resolve faulty domestic waste water treatment systems so that the environment and public health is protected.

The report is available at:

Focus-on-Local-Authority-Environmental-Enforcement—Performance-Report-2022.pdf (epa.ie)

Local authority area reports are available at:

Local-Authority-Environmental-Enforcement-Individual-Authority-Performance-Results-2022.pdf (epa.ie)

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