Greenhouse Gases I
The Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer has been entered by the EU and ratified in Ireland. Various EU legislation seeks to reduce the presence of certain harmful substance in the ozone layer, in accordance with the Convention.
EU regulations have phased out certain substances, which have been identified as depleting the ozone layer. There are substantive standards or procedures for the measurement, reduction and elimination of substances such as CFCs and HCFCs.
EU regulations provide for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These emanate from certain industrial processes, and in particular from refrigeration units, air conditioning and certain processes. Procedures have been required for monitoring and reducing the presence of certain substances. Facilities are provided for the disposal of these elements from refrigerants and air-conditioning systems.
The International Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution has been adopted and amended over the last 40 years. The EU has entered them on behalf of member states. A succession of protocols have provided targets for and achieved reduction of designated air emission. Ceilings are specified and mechanisms are required to monitor compliance.
The are requirements for the reduction of sulphur dioxide, which are aimed at certain industries and in particular, power plants. They are similar provisions on the reduction of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury. The relevant standards are implemented through licensing systems and substantive regulation. The marketing and use of certain substances are restricted.
Greenhouse Gases II
The United Nations Convention on Climate Change 1992 seeks to stabilise and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They Kyota protocol in 1997, agreed to legally binding reductions in six greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons and hydro fluorocarbons. The EU has ratified a framework convention.
States must reduce greenhouse gas emissions progressively, in accordance with designated targets. The reductions are shared between EU states, under legally binding arrangements. The EU has provided mechanisms to monitor emissions and to evaluate and ensure progress in the reduction of emissions. There are mechanisms to ensure compliance. The monitoring agency in Ireland is the Environmental Protection Agency.
Agriculture is the source of up to a third of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland. The National Climate Change Strategy sets out measures, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions progressively. This includes taxation measures, emission trading, reduction of use of coal in certain power plants, reducing methane emissions by reduction of livestock numbers, house insulation standards and incentives, improved planning and energy requirements and measures to develop fuel efficiency. An Interdepartmental Committee monitors and implements compliance steps.
EU regulations provide for eco-labels, which identify the environmental impact of products. The objective is to promote environmentally friendly products. Persons manufacturing and importing the relevant products may apply to the designated national body, for the award of the label.
The national body assesses whether the relevant criteria have been met. Once the national body has awarded the label, it may be used throughout the EU. The National Standards Authority of Ireland is the relevant body in Ireland for the issue of eco-labels.
The building regulations provide for measures which seek to ensure the efficient use of fuel and energy. Building regulations implement EU standards on the minimum required energy performance.
Building Energy Ratings certificates have been mandatory on sale and lettings since 2008. EU Directives on the energy performance of buildings provides a methodology for calculation of the performance on a standard basis.
There are standards applicable both to the renovation of certain existing large buildings. There are provisions requiring regular inspection of boilers and other systems from an energy use perspective.
EU regulations promote the use of renewable energy. Directives require that a certain amount of electricity production should be from renewable sources. This is implemented by the Sustainable Energy Act and by The Commission for Energy Regulation.
Sustainable Energy Ireland has a range of functions, which seek to promote the efficient use of energy, promote renewable energy and reduce the environmental impact of energy production. The SEI provides advice, monitoring and enforcement. See the section on the SEI.
The state has undertaken measures to extend the use of renewable energy technologies in particular wind, wave and water generated taxation and regulatory measures promote the use of renewable energy. See generally the sections on renewable energy.
The liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets has been effected over the last 20 years. The regulatory mechanisms provide pricing incentives for the use of the renewable energy.
Taxation measures have sought to promote energy efficient energy production from renewable and sustainable sources of energy. See the section on electricity tax.
States are obliged under EU regulation to monitor damage to forests and report on the results to the EU Commission. The EU regulation is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Coillte.
EU legislation has sought to limit the overall presence of certain substances in the atmosphere. EU legislation controls the composition of fuel. Regulations prescribe the composition of most fuel oils for mechanically propelled vehicles, which seek to limit and control emissions.
Vehicle type approval legislation has sought to ensure that vehicles are efficient from the perspective of harmful emissions, in particular, carbon dioxide. Vehicles must conform with EU standards testified by a certificate of conformity.
All new cars offered for sale or leasing must have a fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions label. Advertising material must be displayed at the point of sale, showing prominently the requisite information. There are other requirements, which seek to ensure publication of this information.
The national car test regulations require, amongst other things, that the vehicle complies with the requisite fuel system and emission standards. EU Directive provides for random inspection of larger commercial vehicles. Officers, appointed by the Department of Transport, may assist the Gardai in testing on a random basis.
Older domestic road traffic legislation also makes provision for the control of emissions from vehicles. Vehicles may not be used in the public place if they breach the general standards in relation to emissions. In particular, a vehicle may not be used where there is smoke, visible grit, sparks, ashes, cinders or oily substance emitted oily which can be prevented by reasonable care.
It is an offence to use a device to facilitate starting, that cause the engine to be supplied with excess fuel while it is in motion. The Road Traffic Act 2002 gives power to the Minister to make regulations in relation to the protection environment from vehicle emissions.
The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland assists departments and state authorities in relation to identifying radon levels. It advises on remediation work required to ensure that the recommended concentration levels are exceeded.
The Radiological Protection of Ireland measures the presence of radon gas for a relatively small fee. It enables householders to verify approximate radon levels. This is an indicative reading and if it exceeds a certain level, it is recommended that corrective action be taken.
Various regulations made under EU legislation and the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland Act, give effect to the relevant standards relating to ionizing radiation. The EU legislation applies to radiological devices as well as environmental naturally occurring radon.
Building Regulations require radon measures to be taken to prevent radon in new building works. Some areas are designated as high radon areas. A remediation grant has been made available, covering part of the cost of remediation work subject to a cap.
EU derived legislation in the area of health, safety and welfare at work prevent, limit and control exposure levels in respect of radon and ionizing radiation.