The Department’s mission is to support economic and social progress and help the country reach its full potential by:
- facilitating the development of communications and energy infrastructure and markets
- leading the national transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, resource-efficient economy
- protecting and improving our high-quality natural environment
- ensuring the sustainable and productive use of our natural resources
- promoting the development of the public and private broadcasting sectors.
Delivery of the goals and objectives set out in the Department’s Statement of Strategy will be underpinned by the values set out in the Civil Service Renewal Plan:
- a deep-rooted public service ethos of independence, integrity, impartiality, equality, fairness and respect
- a culture of accountability, efficiency and value for money
- the highest standards of professionalism, leadership and rigour.
- In 2018, the Department continued its efforts to advance the protection of the environment with expenditure of almost €36 million from the Environment Fund, supporting waste prevention and enforcement initiatives, as well as increased environmental awareness.
- Some €2 million was allocated from the Environment Fund to support 200 projects under the Department’s Anti-Dumping Initiative to reduce incidents of illegal dumping nationally. Monitoring and surveillance of dumping blackspots, as well as the development of an integrated approach involving Local Authorities, communities and other State Agencies, were supported under the initiative.
- Further multi-agency waste enforcement operations took place under the auspices of the enhanced waste enforcement structures of the National Waste Enforcement Steering Committee (which is chaired by the Department) and the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authority (WERLA) offices.
- The Department provided funding of €884,000 to Local Authorities to conduct public awareness and education initiatives under the Anti-Litter and Anti-Graffiti Awareness Grant Schemes. It also supported 880 local environmental projects by communities, individuals and not-for-profit groups under the 2018 Local Agenda 21 Scheme.
- Flat-rate fees for kerbside household waste collection continued to be phased out over the period from autumn 2017 to autumn 2018, as customers’ contracts came up for renewal, in line with policy commitments to encourage further waste prevention.
- The Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group established by the Department to monitor prices in the market, as householders transition from flat fees, found that prices in the market remained relatively stable.
- With the support of the Department, the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices delivered an integrated promotional strategy across all media to encourage the prevention of waste through waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Campaigns which were prominent in 2018 included Recycling List Ireland, Recycling Ambassadors, Reuse Month and Conscious Cup.
- Two new producer compliance schemes to deal with the waste tyre and end-oflife vehicles had successful first years of operation in 2017/2018.
- EPA’s Stop Food Waste Programme provided key support to the Department’s Retail Action Group on Food Waste in the Supply Chain throughout the year. In January 2018, 5 of Ireland’s largest retailers signed the Programme’s Food Waste Charter, pledging to take specific and verifiable actions to combat food waste.
- The Department provided €10.25 million to Local Authorities to support remediation work on 19 landfill sites around the country in 2018.
- In March 2018, Ireland ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which is estimated could prevent approximately 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century.
- The Department transposed the National Emission Ceilings Directive (Directive (EU) 2284/2016), by means of the European Union (National Emission Ceilings) Regulations 2018.
- EC (Environmental Noise) Regulations 2018 updated previous Regulations in this area and also transposed Commission Directive (EU) 2015/996 (CNOSSOS-EU) relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.
- The first phase of the National Radon Control Strategy concluded and its key achievements include:
completion and rollout of training courses for construction workers, Local Authorities, public bodies, and radon contactors
establishment of two registration schemes for radon services, and
strengthened regulations requiring workplace testing in High Radon
A dedicated training event on Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) for public authority officials was delivered to approximately 154 attendees from 44 public authorities in March 2018.