Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (198)

Denis Naughten


198. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the number of applications with the EPA for end-of-waste status for recovered waste materials; the number received in each calendar year; the number of applications processed in each calendar year; the number of staff and grades working full-time on these applications; the average processing time for a standard application and for a priority application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38618/20]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Waste Framework Directive provides a framework whereby material recovered or recycled from waste may be considered to no longer be waste.  As the competent authority in Ireland for End of Waste determinations is the EPA, questions in relation to applications are more appropriately directed to that Agency than to myself, however I understand that the Agency currently has 34 applications on hand, and that the number processed per year is as follows:

- 2020 : 2 decisions to date;

- 2019:  4 decisions granted;

- 2018:  1 decision granted;

- 2016:  1 decision granted.

The Agency currently has a team of four inspectors working on applications for both End of Waste, and the related By Products process.   It is not possible to give an average processing time due to the varied nature and quality of applications received, however the Agency has recently published draft guidance and a standard application form, with a view to improving the standard of applications received. 

I am very conscious of the importance of the End of Waste in the transition to a more circular economy, in particular in relation to the construction sector.  The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy which I launched in September this year, has a dedicated chapter on End of Waste, and commits to a number of measures including:

- Working with stakeholders to streamline the process;

- Examining whether certain end of waste decisions should be determined by local authorities rather than the EPA;

- Establishing a working group to develop national end of waste applications for identified priority waste streams, which would obviate the need for individual applications within those streams;

- Introducing a fee for end-of-waste applications to help fund the process and encourage high quality applications.

My officials have already had initial engagement with both regulatory authorities and with certain private sector stakeholders in relation to these measures, and will be working to advance progress in these areas over the coming months.