FIE has written to the Minister for Agriculture because of new requirements for fencing of the uplands under the Single Area Payments and the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme. Farmers have been renting land in the uplands – especially from Coillte -  to increase the acreage available to them for spreading slurry and grazing animals required under increasing Nitrates Regulations, The Department  of Agriculture has closed down on the practice by requiring all such lands to be fenced. What they have neglected to tell farmers is that such lands traditionally open to the public for the last ten years must have planning permission.


11 JANUARY 2011

New environment legislation fails to implement waste management Report recommendations

While welcoming key aspects of today's Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011, FIE is surprised that the Minister did not take the opportunity to implement the key recommendations of International Review of Waste Management Policy completed for him in September 2009.

In particular enhanced producer responsibility is entirely absent - the report recommended that producer responsibility initiatives should be extended to newspaper and magazines as well as junk mail and other forms of direct marketing.

Also absent is the recommended legislation requiring that all collectors who collect household waste provide fortnightly collection of paper and card, textiles, food waste, steel and aluminium cans, plastic bottles, and glass containers.

Nor is there the recommended incentive to ensure that where a local authority exceeds its waste targets, a levy is applied to the total excess residual waste.

Absent too are the refundable compliance bonds for construction and demolition projects to ensure that construction projects meet a specified recycling rate.

Nor have any new economic instruments been brought in to control the throw-away culture - disposable razors and cutlery, for example - which were recommended.

A recent European Environmental Bureau report showed that Ireland consumes 3 times more resources than the EU average.

In particular, FIE regrets that the Minister has not levied the use of ALL single use carrier bags, as paper bags have a greater adverse impact than a plastic bag for a number of the environmental issues.

There is little point in commissioning expensive international reviews of waste if the recommendations are ignored.

Further information: Tony Lowes 027 74771 / 087 2176316



Friends of the Irish Environment have presented EXISTING GEO-INFORMATICS IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, to Conor Lenihan, Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources and called for the release of substantial OSI [Ordinance Survey Ireland] mapping data free for use.

The Report lists the sources in Ireland of Geoinfomatics - the acquiring, analyzing and visualizing of spatial electronic data. It is accompanied by a Register of contacts for these sources and includes sections on free satellite imagery and free software.

In calling for free for use and re-use of OSI raw data, FIE says ‘The new commercial online services recently announce by Minister Lenihan for the OSI will only further hold back critical economic and environmental initiatives in one of the most rapidly evolving scientific fields'.

In support of the call, the authors cite the English change in policy announced on April 1, 2010 by which almost all unrefined UK OS mapping data is now being made freely available on the internet. English research found that while their OSI would need a subsidy from central government to make up for the loss in revenue, this would be outweighed by a gain of around £168m.


FIE had written to Mary MacAlesse requesting her to convene the Council of State to consider referring the new Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality. Amendments to Section 50 of the Bill, which ‘purports to implement the European legislation encouraging access to justice', does the opposite. Legal advice the organisation has received confirms that what the amendment does is prevent NGOs or others from receiving their costs when litigating environmental issues, even if they win.Under this revised legislation even successful litigants will be unable to recoup the enormous costs of pursuing litigation in the High Court and Supreme Court. Irish NGOs in particular are poorly resourced and would be acting recklessly if they sought the assistance of the courts in obtaining constitutional and European law rights under this amendment. Ordinary members of the public will find it impossible to obtain legal representation necessary for the access to justice that European law requires if their costs will not be met even when they win against the State. The President signed the Bill into law on 26 July 2010.

Paper bags have a worse impact on the environment than plastic ones, studies show.