In July 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency ('EPA') produced its 2016 Enforcement Report. A few key points are particularly worth noting:
- 66% of all complaints received by the EPA relate to odour.
- The food and drinks sector was the least compliant sector.
- The top five sites visited in 2016 were from the waste sector. The waste sector, along with "surface coatings" and "food and drink", were the sectors with the highest numbers of summary prosecutions taken in 2016.
- 1,552 site inspections were carried out in 2016, 95% of which were unannounced.
- 11 cases were concluded in 2016. Two were dismissed, two received the benefit of the Probation Act, and the rest resulted in convictions.
- EPA continues to operate a "priority" list based on the points system.
- 25 sites were considered to be a "National Priority Site" during 2016. On 11 July 2017, EPA identified food processor Arrow Group in Kildare, Irish Cement in Limerick, Rosderra Irish Meats Group in Offaly, T & J Standish in Tipperary, and Tipperary Cooperative Creamery as National Priority Sites. Three of these five are stated to account for more than half of all complaints received by the EPA in the last year.
- Financial provision continues to be a priority for the EPA. The Report notes that €232m in financial provision was secured during 2016 bringing the overall provision in place to €342m across 81 EPA licenced facilities. The majority of financial provision is by way of bonds (49%), with 23% parent company guarantees, 14% environmental impairment liability insurance cover, 10% in secured funds and 4% as charges on property.