EPA continued to provide essential environmental enforcement activities during the Covid-19 pandemic using innovative approaches

  • The EPA employed a range of tools to assess compliance at licensed sites during 2020 and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, including the innovative use of Remote Compliance Assessments.
  • Odour complaints about licensed facilities rose dramatically in 2020, peaking in April.  Overall, there was a 92% increase in complaints received by the EPA.
  • The EPA continued to carry out inspections focusing on sites causing odour nuisance and on other sites where environmental incidents and emergencies occurred.
  • The top 5 most visited sites in 2020 were Tipperary Co-operative Creamery Limited (19), Arrow Group (20), Merck Millipore Limited (21), Green Circular Economy Unlimited Company (24) and Limerick Gasworks (30).
  • Twelve sites were identified as National Priority Sites in 2020, an increase from the eleven sites in 2019. Five of the 2019 sites were again designated a National Priority Site in 2020. Three sites (Arrow Group, Arran Chemical Company Limited and Tipperary Co-op Creamery) were a National Priority Site throughout 2020.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its annual summary report on the enforcement activities carried out in 2020, along with the list of sites which were designated as a National Priority Site during the year.

The report shows that, despite the significant challenges and impact of Covid-19 during 2020, the EPA continued to carry out the enforcement of industrial and waste licences at over 830 individual installations throughout Ireland.

Mr Tom Ryan, Director, EPA Office of Environmental Enforcement, said:

“The EPA continued to provide an essential public service throughout the pandemic carrying out just under 1,100 inspections. With complaints about local licensed facilities almost doubling, the role of the EPA in enforcing industrial and waste licenced activities became even more important and we continued to investigate and respond to complaints as they arose.  Odour nuisance was a key issue and 13 per cent of all inspections in 2020 were to investigate odour complaints from the public.”

The report published today highlights the main issues at licensed sites during 2020 and outlines what actions the EPA took to enforce environmental conditions at these sites.

During 2020, the EPA published quarterly updates on its enforcement activities to keep the public informed of the work of the EPA. The main findings of the 2020 report were:

  • 1,089 inspections were carried out by the EPA of which over 200 were remote compliance assessments. 14 per cent of these inspections were to sites on the National Priority Site List.
    • The top 5 most visited sites in 2020 were Tipperary Co-operative Creamery Limited (19), Arrow Group (20), Merck Millipore Limited (21), Green Circular Economy Unlimited Company (24) and Limerick Gasworks (30). The majority of inspections on these sites were to investigate odour issues.
    • Complaints to the EPA about licenced sites increased by 92 per cent and peaked in April when 187 complaints were received.  The EPA received more than 100 complaints in relation to Arrow Group, Gas Networks Ireland, Tipperary Co-op Creamery and Merck Millipore Ltd.

The EPA also published the latest National Priority Sites List for 2020.  The number of National Priority Sites in 2020 was 12, up slightly when compared with 2019 (11). The EPA will continue to focus its resources where they are most needed and to drive compliance at all problematic sites.

Commenting on the publication of the latest National Priority Sites List, Mr. Darragh Page, EPA Programme Manager, said:

“Sites with significant non-compliances with their licence conditions and regular incidents and complaints are placed on the National Priority Sites List.  The continued poor compliance status and presence of the Arrow Group and Arran Chemical Company Limited on the National Priority Sites List is of serious concern to the EPA and they are both the subject of ongoing enforcement action to resolve the environmental issues and to bring them into compliance.”

The full list of National Priority Sites for 2020 is in the Table below.

Reg No. Site Sector County Issue
P0812-01 Arrow Group* Food & Drink Kildare Odour & Noise
W0205-01 Green Circular Economy Unlimited Company Waste Dublin Infrastructure, odour & financial provision
P0110-02 Arran Chemical Company Limited Chemical Roscommon Air emissions & groundwater contamination
W0217-02 Killarney Waste Disposal Unlimited Company Waste Kerry Waste storage, odour infrastructure & water management
W0281-01 Gas Networks Ireland (Former Limerick Gasworks remediation project) Waste Limerick Odour & fugitive emissions
P0571-04 Merck Millipore Limited Surface coating Cork Odour
W0023-01 Raffeen Landfill Site (Cork Co. Co.) Waste Cork Landfill gas & leachate management
P0801-01 Tipperary Co-operative Creamery Limited Food & Drink Tipperary Odour & wastewater management
P0690 Decotek Automotive Limited Surface coating Westmeath Air emissions
P0519 Saint-Gobain Construction Products (Ireland) Limited Mining Monaghan Water management
P0997 The Hammond Lane Metal Company Limited Waste Cork Waste handling & housekeeping
P0693-02 Takeda Ireland Limited Chemical Dublin Air emissions

*Arrow Group Limited includes the activities at this licensed site of Dawn Farm Foods Ltd, TCFG Naas Ltd (also known as The Culinary Food Group), QK Coldstores Ltd, Dawn Farms Distribution Ltd and Maudlins Waste Management Ltd.

The National Priority Sites for Enforcement system was launched by the EPA in July 2017 to drive further environmental compliance at industrial and waste facilities. It is based on the previous six months enforcement history at all licensed sites. Find out more at: http://www.epa.ie/enforcement/nationalprioritysites/

Licensed facilities are identified as National Priority Sites for enforcement using a system developed by the EPA.  Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months.  Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a National Priority Site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action. The EPA updates the National Priority Sites list on a quarterly basis.
Further details of the National Priority Sites scoring system and the list of sites can be found here: http://www.epa.ie/industrialwastedata/nationalprioritysites/prioritysitessystem/

Enforcement information on all sites can be found under the Licence Search pages at www.epa.ie/licensing/.  In addition we publish quarterly updates on the enforcement activities of the EPA at http://www.epa.ie/industrialwastedata/.

Complaints about licensed sites can be made on-line at www.epa.ie or by contacting the EPA at 053-9160600.

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