Number of inspections carried out by local authorities under the 4th Nitrates Action Programme

Question:

To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of inspections carried out by local authorities under the 4th Nitrates Action Programme in 2018, 2019 and 2020; the number of non-compliance incidents registered; the number of enforcements and penalties issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Response:

Local authority functions, including enforcement activities, are set out under Part 6 of the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017.

Under these regulations, local authorities are required to undertake inspections to determine on-farm compliance with the provisions of the regulations on farms within their jurisdiction.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibility within the regulations for oversight of local authority enforcement functions and for reporting on implementation and compliance with the requirements of the regulations.

This is managed through the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement and through the collaborative Network for Ireland’s Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (NIECE network).

This is in addition to the general oversight of local authority environmental functions assigned to the EPA by section 63 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992.

Information on the number of inspections carried out, non-compliances identified, enforcement activities and prosecutions by local authorities under the Nitrates Action Programme is collated by individual local authorities and reported to the EPA, who publish the consolidated enforcement data as part of their regular Local Authority Environmental Enforcement Activity Report.

A copy of the latest report is available on the EPA’s website at

http://www.epa.ie/publications/compliance–enforcement/public-authorities/focus-on-local-authority-environmental-enforcement—activity-report-2019.php

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