The Departments of Agriculture and Food and Communications, Marine and Natural Resources regulate animal and fish products. This is an aspect of the food safety regulations. There are requirements regarding the food chain from farm to plate.
There are requirements in respect of transporting, handling, processing and disposal of animal by-products. Animal byproducts, parts of animals or products of animal origin not intended for consumption are subject to special rules.
Animal or animal byproducts may not be buried without an authorisation. Animal byproducts may not be sold or permitted to be sold from travelling shops, vending machines, mail order and other events. They may be sold from fixed premises.
The waste legislation does not apply to animal carcasses and animal waste covered by other legislation. EU derived regulations provide for animal by-products. This applies to the entire bodies, parts of animals or products of animal origin which are not intended for human consumption. The regulations make provision for marketing, importation, processing and disposal of animal waste and products of animal origin.
The provisions are administered by the Department of the Agriculture. The regulations are to some extent, part of general food safety law which deals with the entire food chain. Persons who operate plants dealing with animal products must obtain approval from the Department of Agriculture. The Department of the Marine grants approval in the case of certain fish products. Producers using animal by-products for taxidermy must be approved.
The Diseases of Animals Act regulate the disposal of animal parts. A burial license or authorisation is required for burying an animal or animal by-products. Approvals may be given by the Department of Agriculture for burial where a single farm animal has died, subject to directions as to how it may be buried. Licenses do not immunise person burying animals from liability on common law grounds.
A knackery meat feeding license is required for feeding animal by-products to animals. A knackery meat sellers license is required for selling or supplying by-products. License holders must ensure that the product is procured from proper and appropriate sources.
A person may not sell or market animal by-products from a travelling shop, vehicle or vending machine, fair, trade fair, exhibitions, sporting event or a place where animals are sold, slaughtered or exhibited for a display or competition. Sales may be allowed from fixed premises. Orders may not be solicited from persons, door to door. Certain animal products may not be marketed at all. Breach of the legislation is an offence.
The transport of animal by-products is regulated. It is exempted from general legislation on waste movement.
The rendering of animal products is an IPC activity subject to EPA licensing.
The spreading of sewage sludge is a waste recovery or disposal in many cases. If the residuary is hazardous or for landfill, it may require a licence, subject to certain thresholds. It is an essential part of the environmental terms and conditions for the Single farm payment and supplementary payments, that the applicant complies with good agricultural and environmental practice.
EU regulations provide that sludge may only be used in the manner permitted. Sludge must usually be treated. Residual sludge from septic tanks may be used on grassland, provided it does not subject to grazing within six months.
Persons using sludge must comply with a nutrient management plan. Certain sludges are prohibited. There are obligations on suppliers of sludge. Local authorities maintain a register. Breach of the regulation is an offence. Any person may prosecute. The local authority supervises the supply and use of sludge.
The Waste Directive 2008 was given effect by the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations 2011. The Waste Directive Regulation 2011 amend general obligations regarding waste.
The EPA may be requested for a ruling in relation to whether a waste facility permit licence or certificate of registration is required for various construction work or materials. A contractor may request EPA to confirm that the materials are a by-product. Their decision must be notified to the EPA. The EPA may then determine that the putative byproduct should itself be treated as waste.
It provides that uncontaminated soil and naturally occurring material excavated during construction works, where it is certain that the materials will be used for construction in their natural state on that site, are not deemed to waste. If it is to be used elsewhere, it may be deemed waste depending on the circumstances and in accordance with the ordinary definitions of waste.
The 2000 Regulations amend the definition of a waste holder to waste producer or person who is in possession of waste. In case of accidental production of waste, both the occupier and third parties may be considered in possession or holder of waste, if, for example, the leakage is due to the third parties fault. This is without prejudice to the obligations of the occupier.
Where waste has been transferred to an appropriate person for preliminary treatment, the original holder of the waste retains a duty of care to ensure that the person to whom it is transferred deals with it properly and appropriately. Transfers to unauthorised persons were formerly deemed not to be transferred.
The amended regulations provide that the waste producer or waste holder is responsible for carrying out or arranging for an authorised person to carry out the waste. Accordingly, the original producer may not avoid his responsibilities by transferring it to a person who is not an appropriate person.
There is a presumption in prosecutions that carrying out a waste activity other than in accordance with the required authorisation shall be presumed until the contrary is shown to be likely to cause environmental pollution.
A person who collects waste from a construction site must have the requisite collection permit. He must bring it to an authorised place of disposal. In case of hazardous waste, a higher onus is on the original waste producer to ensure to obtain and retain proof that the waste has been so delivered by consignment notice.
A person who holds waste must be licensed under the waste management facility permit and registration Regulations. Persons landfilling waste require an EPA licence under the Waste Management Act. An integrated pollution control licence may be required in other circumstances.
The Minister for the Environment may exempt collections of particular classes of waste and the requirement for a collection permit. They must be carried out in accordance with requirements, including registration of information about the collector, in the local authority’s register as are provided under the regulations.
It is an offence to cause, facilitate the abandonment, dump or manage or treat it an unauthorised manner waste. EPA or local authorities may take prosecutions. The level of fine on indictment is increased to €5,000 and/or three years imprisonment on conviction on indictment. On summary conviction, a person in breach is subject to a class B fine and or up to three months’ imprisonment.
It is an offence to hold, transport, recover or dispose of waste or treat waste in a manner that causes or is likely to cause environmental pollution. The original waste producer or waste holder is responsible for the treatment of waste under the amended section. Alternatively, he may have it treated by an authorised person who is to carry on waste treatment operations or have it treated by an authorised waste collector.
Persons who treat, hold or are otherwise in control of waste must ensure that waste management is carried out so as not to endanger human health or the environment. In particular, there is to be no risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals. There has to be no nuisance through noise or odours and it is not to adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.
Waste Hierarchy and Recovery
The Waste Directive and the Waste Directive Regulations 2014 ( Ireland) enact the waste hierarchy in Irish law. There is an order of priority of waste operations, prevention, preparing for reuse, recycling, another recovery including energy recovery and ultimately and as a last resort only, safe and environmentally sound disposal.
The hierarchy is a priority order and is more than guidance. Departure from the hierarchy is permitted only if justified by lifecycle, justification on the overall impacts in the generation of waste.
Incineration is deemed recovery rather than disposal as it facilitates energy recovery and resumption and production of fossil fuel use.
EPA and local authorities must take measures to encourage options that deliver the best environmental outcome in applying the waste hierarchy. They must promote compliance with the hierarchy in their waste management function. Waste producers and holders must ensure that waste is treated or recovered in accordance with the hierarchy.
Where recovery is not undertaken, producers and holders must ensure that waste undergoes safe disposal operations, meeting requirements in relation to the protection of human health and the environment.
The cost of waste management is to be borne by the original waste producer or current or previous waste producers in accordance with the polluter’s pays principal. Waste management is defined as including collection, transport, recovery and disposal of waste including supervision of such offers, operations, aftercare of disposal sites, actions taken as a dealer or broker.
Waste is subject to the EU provisions on free movement of goods. Waste for recovery is subject to the same provisions. The freedoms are subject to restrictions on public policy and health and safety grounds and may be regulated on this basis.
The EU Waste Framework Directive requires States to establish waste disposals installations so that the Community as a whole, may become self-sufficient. The general principle is that waste should be disposed of as locally as possible. The movement of waste should only take place in accordance with waste management plans. Waste movement is not prohibited provided it does not pose a threat to the environment. The European courts have held that the principle of waste recovery and self-sufficiency does not apply to waste recovery.
EU Regulation harmonises the law on the movement of waste across frontiers. Waste must comply with various international Conventions, including those relating to the carriage of dangerous goods, the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, the Civil Aviation Convention and the Ship Pollution Convention.
Waste movement must be authorised and notified. States have the freedom to introduce limited or more general bans on waste transit. The grounds for objection are provided in the Regulation. The general principle of self-sufficiency and proximity in disposal applies.
National authorities may verify that waste complies with regulation. Classifications of waste may be challenged. This reflects the exception to the general free movement of goods based on public health grounds. There are criteria in respect of the extent to which EU States may object to intra-EU transports of waste.
The EPA is the authority for all waste imports. The local authority or other authority where waste is held prior to export is the authority for exports. Ireland exports a significant amount of hazardous waste to the United Kingdom. It is one of only two states for which UK operators are allowed to accept waste.
The EPA may prohibit the importation of certain classes of waste. This is subject to overall EU requirements, under EU regulation. The prohibition must be publicised.
The import and export of waste must be certified by the competent authority. There must be financial guarantees or other security. Breach of their regulations is an offence.
The EPA has developed a code of practice for environmental risk assessment of unregulated waste disposal site, water and waste.
The Waste Management Act allows for the introduction of a landfill levy, to be collected by a local authority. It may provide for the establishment of an environmental fund controlled by the Department of the Environment. The Waste Management Landfill Levy Regulations provide a charge for disposal of waste in landfills. There are exemptions for certain materials including certain construction materials.
The Landfill Levy is to be paid where waste material is deposited to improve or develop land without specific authorisation in a waste licence or permit or certificate of registration or in a planning permission.
The levy is paid in addition to any fee, the local authority or private landfill owner may charge for use of the site. The levy is up to €120 per ton.
The landfill levy applies to waste disposal rather than waste recycling. Landfill operators and certain other waste disposal facilities must impose charges. The purpose is to ensure that the full costs are recouped. These charges are in addition to the landfill levy.
Landfill operators must have adequate technical ability and competence. The operators must submit a site conditioning plan. There are obligations in relation to dealing with and disposing of certain types of landfill. There are pre-treatment obligations for certain waste.
Certain waste may not be used in landfill. Landfill is subject to EPA licensing under the waste management landfill levy regulations.
Certain landfill is excepted including;
- certain historical landfill;
- sludge spreading for fertilisation;
- use of inert waste for restoration and construction;;
- deposit of certain non-hazardous, non-polluting sludge dredged alongside waterways in which they are being dredged;
- deposit of non-hazardous sludge in surface waters and
- unpolluted non-hazardous inert waste from for mining and quarries prospecting.
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