Written Answers. - Pollution Control.

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

310 Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for the Environment if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of pig and poultry farmers regarding the new Evironmental Protection Agency licensing regulations; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that these regulations will cause serious hardship for the owners of small pig and poultry units and in many instances will prevent development which is necessary to make these units viable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17001/96]

Rory O'Hanlon

Ceist:

364 Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for the Environment if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of the pig producers at the cost of requiring Environmental Protection Agency pollution control licences; the plans, if any, he has to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16867/96]

Rory O'Hanlon

Ceist:

365 Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for the Environment if his attention has been drawn to the concern by furniture manufacturers at the high cost of applications for a pollution control licence; the measures, if any, he will take to alleviate the difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16868/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 310, 364 and 365 together.

It has been the stated policy of Government that the Environmental Protection Agency's integrated pollution control licensing function should operate on a self-financing basis. The fees provided for under the Environmental Protection Agency (Licensing Fees) (Amendment) Regulations, 1996, are designed to recover the costs to the agency of processing applications for licences, reviews of licences or revised licences; they also reflect the need to maintain equity between different classes of licensable activity and to avoid placing an undue burden on small scale enterprises. I am satisfied that these objectives are currently being met. The regulations also enable the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce, refund or waive fees in individual cases.
In the case of the pig and poultry sectors, many smaller units will be exempt from Environmental Protection Agency licensing. For those which are licensable and defined as small activities for the purposes of the fees regulations, a fee substantially lower than those applying in respect of small activities in all other sectors has been set.
The integrated pollution control licensing system has been in operation since May 1994. In the light of the progressive expansion of the licensing system and the experience gained by the Environmental Protection Agency, I am keeping the level of application fees under review in terms of both the self-financing and equity objectives.
Annual compliance monitoring fees for activities licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency are a matter for the agency to determine on the basis of its costs, and to recover directly from the licensed activities. All licensing fees payable to the Environmental Protection Agency are subject to independent audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General so as to ensure,inter alia, that the self-financing objective is fully and fairly achieved.