Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (44)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

44. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications when he will make appointments to the EPA advisory board given that the term of office of most of its members expired in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6360/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992, provides that the Agency is assisted by an Advisory Committee of up to twelve members, appointed in accordance with Section 27 of the Act.

The functions of the Advisory Committee are set out in Section 28 of the 1992 Act, and include making recommendations to the EPA, or to the Minister, relating to the functions of the EPA.  The Committee is an important resource for the EPA, particularly in relation to matters of scientific and public concern relating to the environment. It also provides an informed, independent perspective on the EPA’s activities.

The term of office of nine members of the Advisory Committee of the EPA expired on 4 December 2019. In line with the 1992 Act, these nine vacancies fall to be filled from two separate processes. 

Six of the vacancies are to be filled by nominations from five categories of organisations, as prescribed by the Minister in accordance with Section 27 of the 1992 Act. Nominations in respect of these prescribing organisations have been received by my Department and I am currently considering these.

A further three positions on the Advisory Committee fall to be filled by appointments to be selected directly by me in accordance with Section 27 of the 1992 Act.  In this respect, I recently undertook a call for applications for these positions, which was managed on my behalf by the Public Appointments Service, and concluded on 18 December 2020.

Arising from these separate processes, I anticipate making appointments to fill all current vacancies on the EPA's Advisory Committee shortly.