Local Authority Environmental Enforcement

Environmental enforcement and regulation in Ireland is largely conducted at a local authority level. Currently, the 31 local authorities in Ireland implement over 500 environmental protection requirements outlined in more than 100 pieces of legislation. In 2018, this work included enforcing over 14,000 licences/permits, conducting 168,000 site inspections, handling 78,000 environmental complaints, undertaking almost 20,000 enforcement actions, and issuing over 850 prosecutions (EPA, 2020).

Annually, local authorities develop enforcement plans to allocate resources where they are needed most. Activities are planned based on the risk posed to the environment and what is deemed a priority locally or nationally. Whilst local authorities are responsible for environmental enforcement and regulation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the national environmental protection and policing organisation, is responsible for overseeing local authorities' environmental protection responsibilities. Every year, local authorities inform the EPA of their enforcement plans and their planned levels of activity, in addition to submitting data on completed activities and information on significant achievements. 

Performance results are generated from 26 environmental enforcement indicators. These activity indicators are grouped into several environmental areas. These areas include; Enforcement Planning and Management; Waste Enforcement; Water Enforcement; Producer Responsibility Initiatives & Food Waste and; Air Enforcement. The image shown provides a national overview of local authority performance across each of these indicators in 2018. A summary of findings across each of these measures can be found in the subsections below however.

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