The Green Party has called for a review of waste licensing in Ireland after yesterday’s large fire at the yesterday’s fire at the St Margarets / Sandyhill vehicle recycling facility in North Dublin. It called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to tighten up licensing and procedures for such facilities.
The party’s Dublin Spokesperson Councillor Ciarán Cuffe stated:
“This large fire comes just three years after a large fire at the Oxigen Environmental Recycling Plant in Ballymount on 24th January 2014. It seems that history is repeating itself, and an investigation into our licensing procedures is needed. In both cases large clouds of toxic smoke passed over residential areas. We need greater oversight and management of these large recycling facilities. Some years ago in 2002 a large fire at the Hammond Metal Recycling Company in Ringsend also released toxic gases. How is it that these fires are not contained and estinguished quickly?
“As recycling depots expand we need to ensure that the public are adequately protected. After two major fires at recycling plants in three years it seems clear that we need to improve both planning, fire safety certification and licensing procedures for such facilities. Vast amounts of toxic substances are being released into the air each time a fire like this breaks out.
“It is difficult to locate information about these facilities on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, and this major fire didn’t appear to merit a mention on the EPA’s news or Twitter feeds (@EPAAirQuality and @EPAIreland). Licensing information is hard to find, as even recent licenses are uploaded as scanned photocopies. This makes it virtually impossible for the public to locate clear information in a timely manner.
“The EPA needs to up their game in terms of how they manage these facilities and present information, and Minister Naughten needs to ensure this occurs.” ENDS
Press Release issued and this page published 12th January 2018
Green Party calls for leadership from Naughten on China Waste Crisis
The Green Party has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD, to take decisive action on waste. The call comes as China closes the door to accepting contaminated waste from abroad.
Councillor Ciarán Cuffe, the leader of the Green Party group on Dublin City Council said: “Now is the time for Minister Naughten to up his game and exercise leadership in preventing a ‘China Crisis’ in the waste industry. Minister Naughten has said that we need to move towards a Circular Economy. However, currently we are burning, dumping and exporting far too much of our waste. Much of our recycled waste has been exported in the past but as the door to China closes we have an opportunity to create more jobs and profits at home in reusing and recycling waste. China has taken away the dustbin, and we have to up our game.
“The Government must rethink how we deal with waste. There is a real danger that the China ban will lead to more incineration and dumping. For starters Minister Naughten should:
- Require reverse vending machines in our supermarkets with a deposit on beverage containers as is the case in Germany.
- Introduce an incineration levy similar to the landfill levy so that valuable recyclables do not go up in smoke in the Ringsend and Duleek incinerators.
- Provide scholarships for the design of products for the Circular Economy, instead of his current petroleum exploration scholarships.
- Phase out toxic plastics such as microbeads that damage marine life.
- Rewrite the regulatory approval under which Repak operates to ensure Ireland reaches the proposed EU target to recycle 75 per cent of waste packaging by 2030.
- Introduce laws to make district heating happen with waste heat from industry.
“Now is the time for action, instead of waiting for the crisis to unfold. Already recyclable material is being stockpiled in the UK. These changes were flagged by China six months ago and yet we are still waiting for Minister Naughten to respond. The same will happen here unless Minister Naughten takes decisive steps. If Minister Naughten fails to act, the consumer will have to pick up the tab and pay more for burning and sorting through our rubbish.
“As the Environmental Protection Agency has stated we are wasting a significant amount of valuable material that could be reused. The promotion of a circular economy saves money and reduces pressure on the environment.
“Irish consumers want to see their waste creating jobs here at home, but this requires changes from the top. Over to you Minister Naughten.”
Issued 4th January 2018, page updated 9th January 2018
Green Party call for ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road safety following 13th cyclist death
The Green Party has called for the Minister for Transport Shane Ross TD and the Road Safety Authority to introduce a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road safety as a thirteenth cyclist dies this year on Irish Roads.
It called for Ireland to learn from countries such as Sweden that have had a ‘Vision Zero’ plan in place since 1997, and has seen a dramatic reduction in road deaths and serious fatalities.
Green Party Transport Spokesperson Cllr. Ciarán Cuffe stated: “It is not enough to throw free lights and high-viz vests at cyclists. Instead we need a comprehensive approach that tackles driver behaviour, road geometry, lighting, speed limits and other factors.
“An undue focus on the visibility of more vulnerable road users can result in a ‘victim-blaming’ culture that benefits no-one. Instead we need to recognise that many of our roads and streets need to be modified, particularly at junctions to ensure lower speeds.
“The dramatic rise in cycling on urban roads needs to be matched by at least an equal investment in cycling safety and improved facilities, including segregated bike lanes on busy urban roads.
“Road safety requires joined-up thinking from An Garda Siochána, the Road Safety Authority, Local Authorities and the Minister for Transport. It is not good enough to regret another death on our roads. We are all complicit until such time as we place road safety higher on the agenda of all organisations.”
Issued 20th November 2017, page last updated 9th January 2018