Thursday, 4 November 2004

Questions (83)

Tom Hayes

Question:

70 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the implications of the recent EPA annual report for waste policy here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27570/04]

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

The EPA's annual report for 2003 reviews the activities of the agency in that year and the many environmental issues on which it was engaged. With regard to waste management, the report highlights the continuing progress in the rollout of the waste licensing system, for which the agency has statutory responsibility. It also draws attention to the establishment within the agency in 2003 of the office of environmental enforcement and the emphasis that office is placing on tackling illegal waste activity. The report also draws attention to the national waste database report for 2001, also published in 2003 by the EPA, and the need it highlights to further increase recycling activity. It may be noted in this context that an interim national waste database report for 2002, which deals primarily with municipal waste and was published by the EPA in June 2004, records further progress in this regard. For example, the recycling rate of municipal waste is estimated to have advanced to 20.7% in 2002. This is a significant increase in recycling of this waste stream when compared to the EPA report for 2001 which indicated a municipal waste recycling rate of 13.3%.

These reports indicate significant progress since local authorities have begun implementing their waste management plans and, when taken together with my Department's recently published policy statement, Waste Management — Taking Stock and Moving Forward, clearly demonstrate the advances made in delivering the requisite services and infrastructure to ensure we can manage our waste in a modern and sustainable manner.