Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992
Protection Agency, Ireland
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for protecting the environment in
Ireland. We regulate and police activities that might otherwise cause pollution. We ensure there is solid information on environmental trends so that necessary actions are taken. Our priorities are protecting the Irish environment and ensuring that development is sustainable. We employ 290 people who work in ten locations throughout the country.
The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 was enacted on 23 April 1992, and under this legislation the Agency was formally established on 26 July 1993.
Main areas of responsibility and activities
The Agency has a wide range of statutory duties and powers under the Act. The main responsibilities of the EPA include:
- Licensing and controlling large scale activities to ensure that they do not endanger human health or harm the environment, e.g. landfills, incinerators, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, cement, power plants, intensive agriculture, large petrol storage facilities and the contained use and controlled use of GMOs.
- National environmental policing – conducting audits and inspections of licensed facilities, targeting offenders and stamping out illegal waste activity.
- Overseeing local authorities’ environmental protection responsibilities.
- Monitoring and analysing the environment – air, water (surface & ground), land cover.
- Independent reporting on the state of
Ireland’s environment to inform decision- making.
- Independent reporting of trends in waste generation, management and infrastructure.
- Regulating Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions – monitoring Kyoto requirements and implementing the Emissions Trading Directive for over 100 of the largest producers of carbon dioxide in
- Coordinating research and development on environmental issues under a €32m R&D programme
- Providing advice on the environmental impact of strategic plans and programmes on
- Providing guidance to the public and industry on environmental concerns – e.g. compliance with environmental laws; licence applications; waste prevention etc.
- Generating greater environmental awareness through the production of educational materials.
- Promoting waste prevention and minimisation projects through the coordination of the National Waste Prevention Programme, including input into the implementation of Producer Responsibility Initiatives.
- Developing a National Hazardous Waste Management Plan to prevent and manage hazardous waste.
The EPA is an independent public body. Its sponsor in the Government is the Department of the Environment and Local Government.
Independence is assured through the selection procedures for the Director General and Directors and the freedom, as provided in the legislation, to act on its own initiative. The assignment, under the legislation, of direct responsibility for a wide range of functions underpins this independence. Under the legislation, it is a specific offence to attempt to influence the Agency, or anyone acting on its behalf, in an improper manner.
The EPA’s headquarters is located in Wexford and it operates five regional inspectorates, located in Dublin,