Take Part in the Annual Garden Bird Survey

Blue Tit
Copyright Mike Brown


BirdWatch Ireland's popular annual Garden Bird Survey began on 28th November and will run to 13 weeks. Taking part is fun and easy; you can download a survey form and instructions from the BirdWatch Ireland website, or alternatively you can enter you bird counts online.

For full details on the Garden Bird Survey, please visit the BirdWatch Ireland website.

EPA publishes Ireland's Drinking Water report for 2010


The positive downward trend in E.coli in drinking water in recent years continued in 2010, according to a new report released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For the first time, large public drinking water supplies in Ireland show similar compliance levels for E.coli to similar supplies in England and Wales, and the Netherlands. These large supplies provide drinking water to almost three million people in Ireland.

This is the EPA’s fourth report on drinking water quality since new regulations were introduced in 2007 providing for a greater level of consumer protection. Where there is a potential danger to human health in a drinking water supply, local authorities are required by the regulations to consult with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and notify the EPA. Local authorities are also required to comply with directions given by the EPA.

The report, The Provision and Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland, A Report for the Year 2010, is available on the EPA website and contains summary reports for all local authorities.

Source: EPA

Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte publishes Ireland’s first Affordable Energy Strategy


The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Pat Rabbitte TD, today published Warmer Homes: A Strategy for Affordable Energy in Ireland which sets out a vision for improving the affordability of energy for low-income households; ensuring that people can live in a warm and comfortable home that enhances the quality of their lives and supports good physical and mental health.

Minister Rabbitte commented “While the Government faces difficult economic decisions in the coming weeks, we can’t forget those most in need – particularly as we face into another winter. We need a strategy that prioritises what can be done to protect low-income households.’

The strategy was developed by the inter-Departmental Group on Affordable Energy and includes 48 actions that will be implemented over the life of the strategy. Key highlights include:

  • the introduction of minimum thermal efficiency standards for all properties offered for rent,
  • reviewing the National Fuel and Household Benefits Schemes so see how we can target cash supports effectively and prioritise colder homes
  • Achieving economies and harnessing community effort by the introduction of an area-based approach to mitigating energy poverty.

The strategy is available is download from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources website.

Source: Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Protecting your water supply: new guide for businesses launched


The Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr. Caitríona Jones launched on the 24th November a publication designed to help businesses save money by becoming more aware of the quantities of water they use. This Guide to Water Conservation and Efficiency for Business (pdf) also aims to inform businesses how to ensure a supply of water even under adverse weather conditions.

The Facts!

  • 70 million litres of water are used daily by Business and Households in South Dublin County.
  • A single tap dripping at one drip per second can loose up to 4,500 litres of water a year.
  • 26.3 billion litres of waste water are discharged yearly into Ringsend at a cost of €9ml to the Council.

Mayor Jones stated ‘Water security is very important to business sustainability and business sustainability is important to everyone in this County’.

The information leaflet is a publication of the Sustaining & Developing Business Initiative from South Dublin County Council and South Dublin Chamber.

Source: South Dublin County Council

UN Climate Change Conference COP 17 Begins in Durban


The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 17 is taking place in Durban from 28th November to 9th December. Representatives from governments around the world, international organisations, and civil society will seek to further the implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Action Plan agreed at COP 13 and the Cancun Agreements reached at COP 16 last December. Decisions reached at COP 17 will be available on the conference website.

For further information on cliamte change, please visit the Change section of Ask about Ireland.

Consultation - Development of End of Waste Criteria for Biodegradable Waste subject to Biological Treatment


The Department is seeking submissions/comments on the working document 'Technical report for End-of-waste criteria on Biodegradable waste subject to biological treatment'. For additional information and details on the areas under consideration please refer to the document 'Consultation - Development of EoW Criteria for Biodegradable Waste'.

Submissions and comments on this draft document are invited from Industry and other interested parties and should be forwarded in writing or by email, to the address indicated below by Tuesday the 20th of December 2011. Please ensure that all correspondence is clearly marked with ‘End of Waste Criteria for Biodegradable Waste Consultation’.


Waste Policy Section,
End of Waste Criteria for Biodegradable Waste Consultation,
Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government,
Room 2.01,
Custom House,
Dublin 1.

Tel: +353 (0) 1 888 2474

Please note that all submissions and comments submitted to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government for this purpose are subject to release under the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.

Source: Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

Science for Environment Policy issue 2639 now available online


Science for Environment Policy issue 263 is now available online. Articles include:

  • More than protected areas needed to stop biodiversity loss
  • Effects of international wood trade on forests: wealthier countries benefit
  • 'Carbon spike' caused by construction is considerable
  • Social aspects of biodiversity: creating jobs and sustaining people
  • Earthquakes as well as climate change responsible for sea-level rise
  • Seeded ryegrass feeds farmland birds throughout winter

New Group Established by Government to Tackle Radon Gas Problem


Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government has announced the establishment of a new expert group to tackle the health risks posed by radon gas. Speaking at the National Radon Forum in Dublin, Minister Hogan stressed the importance of raising awareness of the risks and of bringing together all of the different public authorities that need to play a part in finding a solution to this ongoing problem.

Minister Hogan said “Exposure to radon gas contributes to approximately 200 lung cancer deaths in Ireland each year. Most exposure occurs in the home. One of the major challenges is the lack of awareness about the risks people face from radon gas and what they can do to reduce them.” 

The establishment of the National Radon Strategy Group means that, for the first time, all of the relevant public bodies have been brought together with a clear mandate from Government to come up with solutions to the radon problem. The group has been given two years to complete this task.

Further information available on the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government's website.

New IPCC report addresses risks of extreme events and disasters


It is "virtually certain" that warm weather extreme events will become more frequent this century, according to a new summary report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 18 November. In order to explore ways of adapting to heatwaves and other extreme events potentially exacerbated in future by climate change, the IPCC has brought together a range of scientific and professional expertise.

The IPCC summary report, 'Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation', aimed to integrate expertise in climate science, disaster risk management and adaptation in order to explore reducing and managing the risks of extreme events and disasters in a changing climate. The report evaluates the role of climate change in altering characteristics of extreme events, looking at a wide range of options used by institutions, organisations, and communities to reduce exposure and vulnerability to climate extremes while improving resilience.

Findings from the summary report are available on the European Environment Agency website.

Irish Scottish offshore renewable energy grid


The huge potential benefits of a new electricity grid under the Irish Sea connecting power sources on Scottish, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland electricity networks have been highlighted in an exhaustive study published today.

The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) study, funded by the EU's INTERREG IVA Programme, has found that development of an interconnected transmission network within the decade would help drive further growth in the renewables sector, create jobs, generate revenues and ensure future sustainable energy supplies by better connecting and exporting electricity.

Speaking as the report was launched at the ISLES Conference in Glasgow, Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said the study is “further proof” of the economic potential of renewable energy: “With a sea area that is almost ten times the size of our landmass, Ireland has an abundance of ocean renewable energy resources, potentially a multiple of the energy requirements of our own system." "By co-operating with our neighbouring administrations, we can work together to create a viable market for these resources, initially across our own islands but in time to continental Europe. The study shows that we have the long term potential to reduce infrastructure costs by working together to develop a planned network design.”

Further information available at Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Irish Water Safety Awards


Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, yesterday presented the Irish Water Safety awards at a ceremony in Dublin City Hall. Minister Hogan paid tribute to Irish Water Safety [IWS] and thanked the volunteer membership for promoting water safety and saving lives on a daily basis.  He complimented IWS on the effectiveness of their educational programmes. In particular he lauded those programmes aimed at children – AquaAttack and Primary Aquatics Water Safety (P.A.W.S.). He stressed that it was very important to target children, to get them at an early age to recognise that water can be dangerous and to know how to avoid these dangers while enjoying the fantastic resource that water is.

The Minister presented fifteen “SEIKO Just in Time” awards in recognition of eleven lives saved in dramatic near-death incidents.  Other awards included Life Governor Certificates and Medals; International Awards; Irish Water Safety Service Awards; Recognition Awards and the Charles Thomson Local Authority Award. The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Michael Gavin, Mayo Water Safety Area Committee, in recognition for his long and fruitful involvement with IWS.

Source: Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

Urgent call to reduce food waste in the EU


Almost 50% of edible and healthy food gets wasted in EU households and supermarkets each year while 79 million EU citizens live beneath the poverty line and 16 million depend on food aid from charitable institutions. The Agriculture Committee has called for urgent measures to half food waste by 2025 and to improve access to food for needy EU citizens.

Since food is wasted at all stages - by producers, processors, retailers, caterers and consumers, the Agriculture Committee called for EU and national measures to improve the efficiency of the food supply and consumption chains, sector by sector, e.g. by promoting direct relations between producers and consumers and to tackle food wastage as a matter of urgency.

Source: European Parliament

New Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff will benefit Farmers and Forestry Owners


"A significant number of farmers and  forestry owners will benefit from the introduction shortly of a new Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) to encourage the generation of electricity from biomass sources"
, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD, has said.

Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, has received notification of approval from the European Commission and he will seek approval from the Government within a couple of weeks to formally open the scheme. The REFIT 3 scheme will provide a guaranteed price for fifteen years of between 8.5 cent and 15 cent per kilowatt hour for electricity generated from renewable energy sources and exported into the national grid.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Reduction in ‘green’ procurement as Irish companies focus on cost


Ireland’s procurement functions are prioritising price above service, risk and green sourcing a new study has revealed.

The annual Accenture study into the sector shows that the most notable decline is in the area of sustainability and green sourcing, which now only drives 4pc of decisions compared with 18pc this time last year.

The research was launched at the recent National Procurement Awards 2011, in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management, and was attended by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan TD.

The study also showed most imported spend is down and that 38pc of respondents source over two thirds of their goods and services in Ireland, up from 36pc in 2010. Some 9pc of enterprises are now only sourcing goods from within Ireland.

Source: Business & Leadership

UCD and Teagasc sign National Agricultural Research, Education and Innovation Partnership Agreement


UCD and Teagasc have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish ‘The National Agricultural Research, Education and Innovation Partnership’. The agreement was formally signed by the President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady and the Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle in UCD yesterday.

Both parties will work jointly to achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness in the use of State resources and ensure that the State investment in agricultural Research and Development results in real economic impact for our growing agricultural sector.

The Partnership will enhance the scientific and technical leadership of UCD and Teagasc in order to underpin the international competitiveness, growth and sustainable development of the agricultural sector. It will provide world-class education for agricultural students and deliver excellent basic and applied research programmes in key areas of relevance to the development of Irish agriculture.

Source: Teagasc

Hogan Approves Design Proposals for €14million Carrigtohill Sewerage Scheme


Mr Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, has today approved Cork County Council’s design proposals to upgrade and expand the wastewater treatment plant in Carrigtohill which is part of the Carrigtohill Sewerage Scheme.  The wastewater treatment plant contract is included in his Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2012 as a contract to start during the life of the programme with a current estimated cost of €14 million.

Under the contract, Cork County Council proposes to provide a first phase upgrade of the existing wastewater treatment plant to cater for a population equivalent of 45,000.  The ultimate capacity of the wastewater treatment plant will be for a population equivalent of 60,000. 

Source: Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

'Pastures New' launched at Dublin Zoo's Family Farm


'Pastures New' is a new 400 page textbook for Leaving Certificate students studying the Agricultural Science syllabus produced by Agri Aware and Irish Agricultural Science Teachers Association (IASTA) and comprises all the study guides that were delivered through the Irish Farmers Journal over the past five years plus additional relevant information. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, launched the textbook yesterday at Dublin Zoo's Family Farm.

The Minister said "In the period 2007 - 2010, the number of secondary schools offering Agricultural Science as part of the Leaving Certificate curriculum has increased from 194 to 266 schools.  Consequently, the number of students taking the Agricultural Science exam has also increased in the same period from 4,267 to 6,878".

He added "There has been a fundamental rethink of the importance of the role of agriculture in our economy.  Demand for agriculture courses is at an all time high; enrolments in Teagasc courses has almost doubled in the last five years, while points have soared for agriculture courses at third level. It is clear that students can see the benefits of a career in the agri-food industry".

The Minister highlighted that Ireland's agriculture sector is on the cusp of profound change. It requires expert, enthusiastic and innovative individuals to grow our agriculture sector in an environmentally sustainable manner to meet the food demands of an ever increasing world population. He added "Agricultural Science prepares students for a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fibre and natural resources systems".

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Hogan commences new legislative provisions in relation to quarries


The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan has announced that he has signed the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 (Commencement) (No.3) (Order 2011). Following the decision of the European Court of Justice, Ireland was required to remove the facility to apply for retention planning permission in the case of projects which would have required environmental impact assessment under Directive 85/337/EEC.  This decision affected a number of quarries who had carried out unauthorised development which would have required environmental impact assessment: such quarries would now be unable to apply for retention permission and would have no means of regularising their operations.

To deal with this situation, it was agreed that for a very limited period, quarries which had commenced prior to the inception of the planning system in 1964, or which had obtained a planning permission at some stage, would be permitted to apply for substitute consent for unauthorised development which was in breach of the EIA/Habitats Directive, without having to prove exceptional circumstances.  This would be conditional on such quarries having registered in 2004-2005 if required to do so.  These provisions are contained in the new section 261A.

Section 261A also provides, however, that where a quarry was always unauthorised, i.e. it commenced on or after 1 October 1964 and never obtaining planning permission, or it failed to register in 2004-2005 if required to do so, it will not be permitted to apply for substitute consent for unauthorised development which was in breach of the EIA/Habitats Directive, and instead an enforcement notice will be issued requiring the quarry to cease operation. 

Further information is available on the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government's website.

Preparing for an export market in renewable energy


Minister for Energy, Pat Rabbitte T.D. outlined a range of considerations for renewable energy policy as we move towards an integrated European Energy Market in coming years. The Minister was speaking at a Conference in Dublin also attended by UK Energy Minister, Charles Hendry M.P.

The Minister noted that the International Energy Agency published its 2011 World Energy Outlook last week. The report makes it clear that despite uncertainty over the prospects for short term economic growth, global demand for energy is set to grow exponentially over the next 25 years and the much needed changes in energy policy direction are not visible enough. Global primary energy demand increased by 5% in 2010 alone, pushing global carbon emissions to a new high.

Commenting on progress so far, Minister Rabbitte said “Ireland’s deployment of renewable energy sources in electricity has been increasing steadily in recent years as we work, North and South, to deliver a 40% level of renewable electricity consumption by 2020. The challenge and opportunity is to steadily increase renewable electricity generation year on year towards 2020 but also to go much further and move on to develop a renewable electricity export market.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Cork LED-lighting Firm Wins Clean-tech Award in London


The LED-lighting company Nualight has won the overall Judges Award at the 2011 Cleantech Connect Awards in London. Based in Cork, Nualight is a venture capital-backed company specialising in LED lighting for food retail. Ten green-tech companies from around Europe were the finalists at the awards ceremony yesterday. The finalists came from a wide range of clean-tech sectors, including water, solar, smart grid, transportation, and energy efficiency.

Farm partnerships encouraged


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has encouraged farmers to consider entering farm partnerships.

"Farm partnerships can bring improved economic returns and social benefits to farm families", Minister Coveney said. "One of the key recommendations of the Food Harvest strategy is that obstacles to farm partnership should be removed". The economic benefits of partnership include increased economies of scale, shared capital investment, removal of duplicate costs, and risk sharing. The partnership model encourages farmers to share best farming and business management practice, thereby increasing their skill set and providing opportunities to diversify into alternative enterprises. Collaborating and farming in partnership can have social benefits as well through reducing isolation, improving the work-life balance and also facilitating succession planning.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal-pollinated crops provide essential nutrients for humans


A team of German and American researchers have demonstrated how crops that provide the highest levels of vitamins and minerals, essential to our diet, depend heavily on animals for pollination. This is a significant finding as crop pollination is a vital ecosystem service, yet the numbers of animal pollinator species, such as bees, are in decline.

The data revealed that most of the crops that produce lipids, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E are pollinated by animals. A large proportion of some minerals in our diet, such as calcium, fluoride and iron, also come from such crops. For instance, the researchers noted that over 98% of vitamin C from crops produced annually around the world comes from those that are animal-pollinated.

Further information on this research study is available on the European Commission website.

Guide for Businesses on the Smart Economy Launched


Chambers Ireland has launched an information booklet designed to help Irish business innovate through a greater understanding of the ‘Smart Economy’ in order to continue to thrive and survive in the current challenging economic climate. Understanding the Smart Economy sets out what the Smart Economy means for Ireland, and crucially how businesses can embrace it. 

The guide is available on the Chambers Ireland website.

€3 billion will be invested in Water and Housing in 2012-2016


Over the next five years the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has stated that it will focus on getting the most from the resources available despite the reality of the difficult position in the public finances. Minister for Environment Phil Hogan TD stated yesterday:

“While there is a significant reduction in overall terms, the main effect will be to extend the timescale for full implementation of programmes, while also taking account of refocused priorities in the current economic context. The continuing competitive tendering environment provides a positive climate for capital investment compared to a few years ago when we were at peak construction prices. This allows us to deliver more for less, with various studies indicating that there has been a drop of between 33%-45% in tender prices over the past four years from their peak in mid 2007.”

“In line with the Programme for Government, the key focus of our programme will be on water services investment. We are committed to achieving a better quality water supply and to ensuring that every Irish citizen and business has access to a plentiful, good quality supply of water, while at the same time continuing to attract inward investment and protecting employment."

“On housing, while the capital budget for the provision of social housing will be curtailed, the impact is being mitigated by the increased use of revenue-funded schemes, including leasing, for social housing supply, which gives us the opportunity to benefit from the better value for money which is available for rental in the current housing market. Over €1.4 billion up to 2016 will be invested in the social housing budget with the focus on the delivery of responses to the most acute needs.”

Source: Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

Ozone and particulates most serious air quality problems in Europe


Air quality in Europe has improved between 1990 and 2009, as emissions of most pollutants have fallen, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). But there is still a lot of room for improvement, as many EU countries are expected to exceed the emissions ceilings in 2010 for at least one pollutant. In addition, concentration levels of ground-level ozone and particulate matter have remained stable over recent years despite efforts to improve air quality.

“Europe’s air quality is generally getting better, but concentrations of some pollutants are still endangering people’s health,” Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said. “To improve air quality further, we need to use many different kinds of policies and measures. These could include reducing emissions levels at source, better urban planning to reduce people’s exposure and lifestyle changes at the individual level.”

Source: European Environmental Agency

Waste Prevention Workshops


As part of The European Week for Waste Reduction,, Repak and the SEAI are joining forces to bring you a one stop workshop on how to reduce costs of waste, water, energy, packaging and other resources.

These workshops will provide your business with:

  • Advice on how to minimise waste and save costs
  • Information on how to avail of free advice and assistance provided by the workshop organisers
  • Opportunity to hear from businesses who have implemented waste prevention measures
  • Opportunity to network with practitioners in the field of resource efficiency / waste prevention

These workshops are Free.
Ballinasloe, November 16th -
Carlton Hotel. Dublin,
November 23rd - Radisson Dublin Airport Hotel. Cork,
December 1st - Silver Springs Moran Hotel.

To register your interest e-mail 


Environmental Noise: Thematice Issue of Science for Environment Policy


Science for Environment Policy Thematic Issue 29: Environmental Noise is now available online. Articles include:

  • Traffic noise causes loss of over one million healthy life years
  • Cognitive impairment caused by aircraft noise: school versus home
  • Noise maps suggest too many people exposed to damaging noise levels
  • Is the public really becoming more annoyed by aircraft noise?
  • Quiet road surfaces may have financial as well as acoustic benefits
  • Combined traffic management and physical measures reduce noise

Cutting noise with quiet asphalt and traffic lane management


Noise pollution affects many Europeans, and for some, it is not only a nuisance - it can also trigger serious disease. Tuesday evening, at a prestigious ceremony in London, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) presented the European Soundscape Award for the first time to raise awareness and recognise initiatives that help reduce noise levels. The winner was a Dutch project which was commended for its integrated traffic noise reduction scheme.

The Dutch province of Gelderland and the municipality of Wijchen won the European Soundscape Award 2011 for their sustainable and integrated traffic noise reduction solution in the village of Alverna . The winning project has combined a range of innovative measures to reduce noise levels. The measures consist of:

  • Moving and reducing the number of traffic lanes
  • Sinking the road by 0.5m
  • Constructing low-level sound barriers of 1m on each side of the road
  • Using special ‘quiet’ asphalt 
  • Reducing the speed limit from 80 to 50 km/h in Alverna

These measures meant planners were able to achieve the same effect as installing the usual unattractive, 4m-high noise barriers.The project also includes a tree planting scheme to create attractive pedestrianised areas. In addition to the noise reduction benefits, the full package of measures also increases road safety, reduces fuel use, helps improve air quality and quality of life in the village.

Source: European Environmental Agency

Crann 25th Anniversary Publication


Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, yesterday launched CRANN's 25th Anniversary publication at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of State said that CRANN, which is devoted to the promotion and protection of broadleaf trees, is to be congratulated on its 25th anniversary, which coincides with the UN International Year of the Forest.

The Minister commented that "CRANN has achieved a great deal through its programme of events and activities aimed at public education and awareness. This is an opportunity to look back and appreciate CRANN’s achievements to date."

Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine

Birdwatch Ireland's 'Action Plan for Lowland Farmland Birds' launched


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has launched BirdWatch Ireland's Action Plan for Lowland Farmland Birds. This Action Plan is one of ten Action Plans which are being created by BirdWatch Ireland to protect priority, migratory and dispersed birds in the wider countryside.

Speaking at the launch the Minister expressed his disappointment that "farmland birds have experienced some of the largest population declines of any group of birds in Ireland". The Minister added that "the Corn Bunting, a specialised lowland farmland bird, had sadly become extinct in Ireland, and data shows that the Kestrel and Skylark have shown a significant decline between 1998 and 2008".

The Minister was heartened by the wide range of interest in the protection of lowland farmland birds and that over 30 stakeholders were engaged in the development of this Action Plan. He pointed out that Action Plans were a 'proven conservation tool' and this Action Plan identifies 4 themes for the conservation of lowland farmland birds and sets targets and actions to be reached.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine

Rehab Recycle opens state of the art WEEE facility in Ballymount


Rehab Recycle’s new state of the art WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) recycling facility in Ballymount was officially opened by the Mayor of South Dublin, County Cllr. Caitríona Jones yesterday. The new facility has the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment every year. Every year in Ireland an average of 9kg of waste electrical goods is recycled per head of population; this is 3.5kg above the European average.

In addition to this new facility in Ballymount, Rehab Recycle also has plants in Tallaght, Galway and Cork, as well as in Eindhoven in The Netherlands. Rehab Recycle is a major resource to both the domestic and commercial sectors in the management of recyclable waste.As well as collecting from local authority bring sites and recycling parks, Rehab Recycle has agreements with many multinational and large indigenous companies to collect significant volumes of waste products on their behalf.

Source: Rehab

Minister of State McEntee Addresses National Compost Skillnet Conference


Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has congratulated Cré at the National Compost Skillnet Conference on its establishment of the Compost Skillnet. The new initiative will provide an extensive range of training courses for those involved in developing the composting industry in Ireland.

Minister McEntee noted that composting is a vital component in meeting targets for recycling and diverting waste from landfill. He pointed out that further increases in the landfill levy are scheduled and this will encourage the development of better alternative treatment options, including composting.

"Increased amounts of organic waste will be diverted out of landfill over the coming years and the composting industry needs to ensure that its members are in a position to avail of the opportunity provided by the change in Government policy and to ensure that plants have trained operators and can produce the highest quality compost."

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine

Waterford County Council nominated for European EMAS Awards 2011


Waterford County Council has been accrediated with the EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme). This is an Environmental Management System awarded to organisations with a proactive approach to environmental challenges and who continually improve their environmental performance.

The EMAS Awards praise the relentless efforts on environmental protection of EMAS registered organisations. The European Commission hands out these high-status environmental awards every year since 2005. An EMAS Award is the most prestigious award in environmental management and is only handed out to top performing companies and public authorities in six categories. This year the EMAS Awards will be handed out to the winners in the six categories  during the EMAS Awards ceremony on 17 November 2011 in Poland.

Member States have received many applications from EMAS registered organisations and have officially nominated 36 organisations from 15 European countries in 6 categories. Waterford County Council is one of the organisations nominated  for an award.

Source: Waterford County Council

National Climate Policy review highlights the need for a long-term, low-carbon vision for Ireland


Releasing the promised review of National Climate Policy, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D. stated that “completing the review was my immediate climate policy priority.  It is an important stock-taking exercise, in terms both of the progress that has been achieved to date in reducing national greenhouse gas emissions”.

On foot of the policy set out in the National Climate Change Strategy 2007-12, Ireland is on course to meet its binding commitment for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol in the compliance period 2008-12.  Beyond 2012, Ireland has clear and challenging greenhouse gas mitigation targets for the 2013-20 period, which are binding under EU law and which must be addressed in the longer-term context of transition to a competitive, low-carbon economy. Minister Hogan said; “My objective, in line with the Programme for Government, is to introduce climate legislation. However, the right policy must be in place before legislation can be introduced.

A three pronged approach will be undertaken in order to develop the necessary policy mix to support an ambitious but realistic national mitigation agenda:

  • An independent study will be carried out by the secretariat to the National Economic and Social Council;
  • A public consultation, to be initiated by the Minister in 2012, will enable all stakeholders to engage in the policy development process;
  • Sectoral mitigation progress will be pursued through the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and the Green Economy based on positive engagement with the relevant Departments where progress must be made if we are to meet our legally-binding EU targets. 

Source: Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 published


The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., has published (3/11/11) the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011.  The Bill provides for a registration and inspection system for septic tanks which is required to address a European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland. Ireland is facing a potential lump sum fine of €2.6 million as well as daily fines of €26k for as long as non-compliance continues. The Minister said that he intends initiating the Bill in the Seanad later this month and he will be seeking to have the legislation enacted as a matter of priority.

The Minister gave a summary of the key features of the Bill, as follows:
- All householders with septic tanks and other on-site systems will be required to register details of their system with the relevant local authority and a national register will be compiled and held by the EPA;
- Householders will be required to pay a modest registration fee (a fee of no more than €50 is envisaged);
- Following the initial registration, householders will not be required to re-register their systems for several years – an interval of 5 years is envisaged between each registration;
- The revenue generated will be used to fund the delivery of a national inspection plan which will be developed by the EPA and its roll-out will be managed by the local authorities;
- While inspections would be concentrated on areas with higher risk to the environment and public health, they will also be carried out in lower risk areas but at a lower rate;
- Inspections may give rise to householders being advised to improve the maintenance of their systems or, in more serious situations, may require the upgrading or remediation of the treatment system.

Further information is available on the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government's website.

Second Edition of Buying Green! Handbook Published


The European Commission has published a fully revised version of Buying Green! – A Handbook on green public procurement.

The handbook is a concrete tool to help public authorities to buy goods and services with a lower environmental impact. It is also a useful reference for policy makers and businesses responding to green tenders.

The second version of the Handbook includes:

  • Guidance on how environmental considerations can be included at each stage of the procurement process
  • Examples drawn from contracting authorities across EU Member States
  • Sector-specific GPP approaches for buildings, food and catering services, electricity and timber

At the same time a shortened version of the handbook - A summary has been prepared.

Source: European Commission GPP

Science for Environment Policy issue 259 now available online


Science for Environment Policy issue 259 is now available online. Artilces include:

  • Set-aside land improves farmland biodiversity in Hungary
  • Combating 'cod fraud' in Europe
  • Increasing green infrastructure ecosystem services in urban areas
  • New tools to predict toxicity of fire retardants
  • Methods for estimating importance of chemicals in occupational health

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