Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (19)

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

146 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when the judgement of the European Court of Justice is expected in the case being taken by the Commission against Ireland arising from this country's inadequate administrative response to illegal waste disposal activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2879/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The European Commission has initiated legal proceedings against Ireland regarding alleged failures to comply with aspects of the Waste Framework Directive (75/442/EC). Following the submission of papers by both the Commission and the Irish authorities, including a request by Ireland for an oral hearing, it is now a matter for the European Court of Justice to decide on the timing of the case's progression. My Department has received no indication from the court in that regard.

Given that the case is before the European Court of Justice, I am not in a position to comment on the issues arising in the context of the proceedings. However, I can assure the Deputy that I have assigned the highest priority to addressing issues regarding the regulatory regime governing the waste sector and its effective enforcement. The establishment of a new office of environmental enforcement within the Environmental Protection Agency, additional funding for local authorities and stronger legislation are all practical expressions of my commitment to ensuring that we have a strong and well-enforced regulatory system governing the waste sector. I intend to continue to place major emphasis on ensuring further progress in this area in the months and years ahead.

Question No. 147 answered with QuestionNo. 143.