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OECD Environmental
Performance Review of Ireland
Mid-Term Progress Report
Dave Walsh, Director General,
Irish Department o...
Introduction – Part 1
o Environmental Performance Review of Ireland - completed in 2009
and published in 2010
o EPR object...
Introduction – Part 2
o Usefulness of Mid-Term Review – evaluating progress made, identifying
the challenges which remain,...
Summary of 38 Recommendations
1. Environmental Management
 Strengthening Implementation of Environmental Policies (Recs 1...
Economic Context since 2008/9
Headline Stats:
o April 2008: Employment: 2,147,000 Unemployed: 131,000
o April 2012: 1,836,...
Economic Recovery Strategy
o Irish Government’s Strategy for Growth - committed to cutting Ireland’s deficit to
3% of GDP ...
Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 1
o 44% reduction in NOx emissions by 2012, compared with 1990 baseline
level - most o...
o Ireland’s National Implementation Plan (NIP) under Stockholm
Convention on POPs finalised by EPA, following comprehensiv...
Ireland – GHG Emissions 1990 – 2012
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
20...
Ireland - Effort Sharing Decision – 2013-2020
Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 3
o Carbon Tax introduced in 2010 (covered in 2013 Env Working Paper No. 59)
• carbon ...
Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 4
o National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF) - published
December 2012
 W...
Water – Part 1
o Further consolidation of water-related legislation into coherent
framework
• Fundamental reform of water ...
Water – Part 2
o Introduction of water pricing for households
• MoU with EU-ECB-IMF and Prog for Government (2011)
• Irish...
Water – Part 3
o Measures to achieve “good” quality status for Irish waters by 2015
• The Drinking Water Safety Plan appro...
Water – Part 4
o Further integrate Water Quality and FRM considerations into spatial
planning and development
• Publicatio...
Waste Management – Part 1
o National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP), regional plans
 Major review as part of overall p...
Waste Management – Part 2
o Extension of waste collection programmes
• New comprehensive National Waste Management Policy,...
Waste Management – Part 3
o Strengthening of licensing standards and monitoring
• Linked to review of household waste cons...
Local Government Reform
o Action Programme for Effective Local Government, ‘Putting People First’,
published in October 20...
Planning & Development Reform
o Major challenges with planning system –
o housing bubble, construction industry collapse, ...
Nature Management
o Accelerate preparation of Natura 2000 sites management plans
o By Jan 2014, site-specific conservation...
Sustainable Development
o National Sustainable Development Strategy renewed - publication of
‘Our Sustainable Future: a Fr...
Green Economy – Part 1
o Green Economy presents a major economic opportunity for sustainable
employment creation in Irelan...
Green Economy – Part 2
National initiatives/progress
o ‘Delivering our Green Potential’ policy statement (Nov 2012), sets ...
Public Participation
o Ratification of Aarhus Convention - June 2012
o Now also able to participate in ACCC
o Improved acc...
Environmental Legislation and Compliance – Part 1
o Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the competent authority for
e...
Environmental Legislation and Compliance – Part 2
o Progression of a range of initiatives to help simplify and clarify
req...
Conclusion
o EPR Mid-Term Review demonstrates substantial measure of progress
achieved … but bar is constantly being raise...
Conclusion
Thank You for listening
David.Walsh@environ.ie
www.environ.ie
www.epa.ie
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OECD EPR of Ireland Mid-term progress report

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In 2010, the OECD presented the Environmental performance review of Ireland. This review included 38 recommendations intended to contribute to further environmental progress in Ireland, to address issues such as water, air, biodiversity and international environmental co-operation.
Five years later, in March 2014, Ireland presented a mid-term review to the OECD Working party on Environmental performance. This mid-term review, a voluntary contribution, provides a timely opportunity to take stock of the progress made and the remaining challenges. Ireland's actions have included :
the reform of the waste sector,
the reform of the water sector,
the planned introduction of domestic water charge,
the introduction of a carbon tax,
substantial reform of the local government system.

Published in: Environment, Technology
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Transcript of "OECD EPR of Ireland Mid-term progress report"

  1. 1. OECD Environmental Performance Review of Ireland Mid-Term Progress Report Dave Walsh, Director General, Irish Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government 28 March 2014
  2. 2. Introduction – Part 1 o Environmental Performance Review of Ireland - completed in 2009 and published in 2010 o EPR objective –  identify good practices and make recommendations to improve a country’s environmental policies and programmes.  MTR provide an opportunity for Ireland to assess its progress and the extent to which we have met both our domestic objectives and honoured our international commitments. o 38 recommendations made with intention of furthering environmental progress in Ireland.
  3. 3. Introduction – Part 2 o Usefulness of Mid-Term Review – evaluating progress made, identifying the challenges which remain, re-orienting approach/tactics. o Helpful to have OECD “weight” behind action and assessment – broadening perspective beyond purely environmental considerations. o Significant progress made across a range of environmental policy areas since 2009 – water, waste, climate, local governance, planning, green economy o But … significant challenges to maintain focus on environmental issues during economic downturn – adapting to harness opportunities to embed sustainable development into new economic model/imperative.
  4. 4. Summary of 38 Recommendations 1. Environmental Management  Strengthening Implementation of Environmental Policies (Recs 1-5)  Air Quality/Climate Policy (Recs 6-10)  Water Policy (Recs 11-15)  Waste Policy (Recs 16-20)  Nature Management (Recs 21-25) 2. Towards Sustainable Development  Integrating Environmental Concerns into Economic Decisions (Recs 26-29)  Integration of Environmental and Social Decisions (Recs 30-33) 3. International Commitments and Co-operation (Recs 34 – 38) To date, approx. 24 recommendations have either been implemented or are near finalisation. o Remaining recommendations currently being acted upon and at various stages of progress.
  5. 5. Economic Context since 2008/9 Headline Stats: o April 2008: Employment: 2,147,000 Unemployed: 131,000 o April 2012: 1,836,000 323,000 o April 2013: 1,870,000 301,000 (but … emigration not fully captured here) GDP (GNI): 2008: €180bn (€156bn) 2012: €164bn (€134bn) General Govt debt (as % of GDP) 2012 Govt Revenue EUR 42bn o 2007: 25% of GDP Govt spend EUR 57bn o 2012: 118% of GDP GG deficit 7.6 percent of GDP
  6. 6. Economic Recovery Strategy o Irish Government’s Strategy for Growth - committed to cutting Ireland’s deficit to 3% of GDP by 2015 and to eliminating it by 2018. o The Medium-Term Economic Strategy sets objective of reducing unemployment to below Eurozone average this year and to below 10% by 2016. o Unemployment has fallen to 11.9%, from a peak of 15.1% - a positive trend which will hopefully continue. o Development of green economy will continue to be driven in such areas as renewable energy, agri-food, tourism, bioenergy, as well as research, innovation and technology. o Data shows seasonally adjusted exports increased in January 2014 by €426m or 6% when compared with January 2013. This follows on from an 18% rise in the seasonally adjusted value of exports in December 2013, compared to 12 months previously.
  7. 7. Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 1 o 44% reduction in NOx emissions by 2012, compared with 1990 baseline level - most of this decrease (32.9kt, or 32%) achieved since 2008. o But … trends moving upwards – increase from powergen NOx, reflecting low coal/carbon prices o Following decline in transport emissions, pressure again with economic upturn. o Reliance on technological advances and improvements to meet targets. o Environmental retro-fit at Moneypoint Powergen plant completed in 2008. o SO2 down from 29Mt in 2005 to 8,000Mt in 2012 o NOx down from 21Mt (2005) to 6Mt in 2012 o Looking ahead to 2030 – new EU Clean Air package measures/targets.
  8. 8. o Ireland’s National Implementation Plan (NIP) under Stockholm Convention on POPs finalised by EPA, following comprehensive public consultation and submitted to Convention Secretariat in November 2012. o Ireland on track to ratify the Heavy Metals Protocol and the POPs Protocol, together with the Multi-Effect (or ‘Gothenburg’) Protocol, before end 2014. o Measures being put in place to implement 2009 Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan, as well as measures to better link land use and transport planning with a view to controlling urban sprawl. o e.g. Active Travel Towns, Smarter Travel Areas, National Cycle Network, public transport improvements, education and behavioural change, o Links to National Spatial Strategy, Regional Plans, local plan core strategies. Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 2
  9. 9. Ireland – GHG Emissions 1990 – 2012 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Emissions 1990-2012 Gross Emissions Baseline Emissions KP CP1 Target
  10. 10. Ireland - Effort Sharing Decision – 2013-2020
  11. 11. Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 3 o Carbon Tax introduced in 2010 (covered in 2013 Env Working Paper No. 59) • carbon tax at €15 per tonne on CO2 emissions introduced in 2010 for liquid transport fuels • subsequently extended to liquid fuels for space / water heating, and increased to €20 tonne • tax of €10 tonne was introduced for solid fuels in 2013; the full rate (€20) will apply to all fuels from 1st May 2014 • Revenue in 2013 was €388m  Objective – integrating climate change into annual fiscal budgetary process and changing business/household behaviour to reduce GHG emissions  Challenge – adding to tax burden in tough economic times, and identifying appropriate uses for environmental taxes, e.g. supporting green initiatives, research, climate finance etc.
  12. 12. Air Quality & Climate Policy – Part 4 o National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF) - published December 2012  Whole-of-Government approach – over-arching framework to ensure adaptation measures are taken across different sectors and levels of government to manage/reduce vulnerability to negative impacts  Governance – development and implementation of sectoral and local adaptation plans which will form the basis of a comprehensive national response to the impacts of climate change  Sectoral Adaptation Plans to be adopted by relevant Ministries or Agencies  Spatial Planning Process – means through which to implement and integrate climate change objectives, including adaptation, at local level o National Roadmapping process for mitigation (and over-arching climate legislation)
  13. 13. Water – Part 1 o Further consolidation of water-related legislation into coherent framework • Fundamental reform of water service sector • EU-ECB-IMF “Troika” commitments • Establishment of a National Water Services Authority - ‘Irish Water’ • Water Legislation consolidation – introduction of primary and secondary legislation o Consider establishing dedicated river basin agencies to implement WFD • Increased efficiencies and infrastructure – ‘Irish Water’ • A new 3-tiered governance arrangement for river basin management and implementation of WFD agreed in principle between Dept., EPA and LA CCMA • Focus now on structure and resources of the local authority system
  14. 14. Water – Part 2 o Introduction of water pricing for households • MoU with EU-ECB-IMF and Prog for Government (2011) • Irish Water assumed responsibility for water service provision from 1 January 2014 • Domestic water charging to commence from 1 October 2014, with issue of first bills to domestic customers from January 2015. • Independent Economic Regulator (CER) for the water sector:  Statutory responsibility for protecting the interests of customers  Number of public consultations planned – April 2014 – focus on pricing  CER will be responsible for approving Water Charges Plan • Job creation – roll-out of meters installation and new industry opportunities
  15. 15. Water – Part 3 o Measures to achieve “good” quality status for Irish waters by 2015 • The Drinking Water Safety Plan approach adopted by EPA:  Actively promoting adoption of these plans among water services authorities  Finalisation of plans for 8 largest public water supplies in Ireland (supplying approx. 50% of population) with further preparation of plans for 61 other public supplies  Online Drinking Water Safety Plan Tool launched (training planned for March 2014)  Risk assessment of hazards in the catchment, likelihood and severity of the impact on drinking water quality • Work of Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI):  Completed Groundwater Protection Schemes (GPS) for all counties in Ireland in November 2013 – important decision support tool for planning authorities  Working with National Fed of Group Water Schemes on Zones of Contribution (ZOCs) • Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) Regulations 2010 – including provisions of setback distance from drinking water supplies for spreading of organic and chemical fertilisers.
  16. 16. Water – Part 4 o Further integrate Water Quality and FRM considerations into spatial planning and development • Publication of statutory Guidelines for Planning Authorities on the Planning System and Flood Risk Management - November 2009. These: • provide a comprehensive approach to integration of flood risk into planning policy and take account of environmental considerations including adaptation to climate change, biodiversity, EU Directives on Flooding and the Water Framework Directive, and protection of investment • ensure a more consistent, rigorous and systematic approach to flood risk assessment and management in the planning system. • Planning authorities required to “have regard to” the Guidelines in carrying out their functions
  17. 17. Waste Management – Part 1 o National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP), regional plans  Major review as part of overall policy reform of sector – focus on resource efficiency and sustainable production and consumption (7th EAP)  Public consultation on new NWPP – finalised policy doc by Summer 2014  3 new Regional Waste Management Planning regions, under lead authorities o National Co-ordination Committee (Lead LAs, EPA, Dept, NTFSO, NWCPO) o Collaboration on SEA/AA of three plans – finalised plans expected by end 2014. o Extend PRI to wider range of end-of-life products  Major review of PRI schemes begun in mid-2012 – covering WEEE, batteries, packaging, waste tyres, end-of-life vehicles, and farm plastics (and governance)  Consultations with industry, stakeholders to address current challenges, and future opportunities  Work to be finalised with new agreements/regulations by mid-2014.
  18. 18. Waste Management – Part 2 o Extension of waste collection programmes • New comprehensive National Waste Management Policy, ‘A Resource Opportunity: Waste Management Policy in Ireland’ - published July 2012  Focus on resource efficiency as a critical element in a holistic waste policy  Contribute to economic recovery, job creation and sustainability  More effective and efficient waste management planning • National consultation on regulation of household waste collection – Nov 13 • Evaluating responses, seminars with waste industry etc. • Household Food Waste and Bio-waste Regulations 2013 (building on 2009 Commercial Waste Regs)  Designed to promote segregation and recovery of food waste  Requires collectors to provide separate collection service for food waste  Roll-out on phased basis – agglomerations with 500+ pop by July 2016.
  19. 19. Waste Management – Part 3 o Strengthening of licensing standards and monitoring • Linked to review of household waste consultation process • Regulations will reinforce need to meet higher standards of service etc.  Collectors to demonstrate annually that they are “fit and proper” to carry out work  Considering on-the-spot fixed penalty notices (with risk of losing licence) • Reduction to 3 Regional Waste Plan Areas (from 10) will help governance  One LA now designated as National Waste Collections Permit Office (NWCPO) o Acceleration of market development programmes o Actions proposed under “A Resource Opportunity” to become a recycling society, and maximising resources recovered from waste o Consultation paper exploring how to support dev of recycling/recovery infrastructure o Business support by EPA – direct grants, Green Business programme (in its 5th year).
  20. 20. Local Government Reform o Action Programme for Effective Local Government, ‘Putting People First’, published in October 2012. o The Action Programme sets out a wide range of actions to deliver reform across the key areas of local government to address weaknesses, enhance effectiveness and accountability and improve performance across the entire system o Radical structural reforms necessary– structures, functions, financing, governance o Local Government Reform Act 2014:  Delivering a much more streamlined system  New governance arrangements - greater devolution  Modernising structures – rationalising, functions  Delivering improved outcomes “on the ground” for citizens – participation!
  21. 21. Planning & Development Reform o Major challenges with planning system – o housing bubble, construction industry collapse, banking crisis – loan defaults and no finance for new-build, over-zoning, infrastructure prioritisation. o But … some positives from policy perspective o Comprehensive review of planning legislation – integration of env factors. o Mid-term “refresh” of National Spatial Strategy (2010) to reflect new economic realities o Planning and Development (Amendment Act) 2010 - introduction of “Core Strategy” System  Strategic/ phased evidence-based approach to zoning at local level  Facilitate infrastructure provision and prioritisation  Demonstrate policy consistency within each region o A chance to re-focus on sustainable patterns and manage future growth better
  22. 22. Nature Management o Accelerate preparation of Natura 2000 sites management plans o By Jan 2014, site-specific conservation plans prepared for 69 sites – work ongoing on rest o Draft National Raised Bog SAC Management Plan published Feb 2014 – part of draft National Peatlands Strategy (out for consultation) o Cross-Govt approach linking env compliance, climate change, biodiversity, forestry management, flood control, agriculture, planning (wind farms) etc. o Legislative requirement for City/County Dev and Local Area Plans to protect biodiversity outside of designated, protected areas o Integration of env considerations into development planning decisions. o Scope to consider green infrastructure – linking green corridors, open spaces, heritage preservation etc. o Biodiversity priorities within Agriculture/Rural Dev Programme. o New updated regulations implementing SEA and EIA.
  23. 23. Sustainable Development o National Sustainable Development Strategy renewed - publication of ‘Our Sustainable Future: a Framework for Sustainable Development in Ireland’ in June 2012 o Provides a roadmap to facilitate the accelerated integration of sustainability across all policy areas o Facilitates medium to long-term policy prioritisation in a ‘joined-up’ approach that is also in line with the public sector reform programme o Inter—Agency High-level Implementation Group – chaired by Minister – tracking progress/delivery of each of 70 measures + annual reporting to Govt. o Contributes towards an effective transition to an innovative, low carbon and resource efficient economy and to advance the move to a ‘Green Economy’ agenda
  24. 24. Green Economy – Part 1 o Green Economy presents a major economic opportunity for sustainable employment creation in Ireland – Government priority. o recognised by Prime Minister at recent visit to OECD. o Ireland has significant strengths and advantages in major international sectors such as renewable energy, smart grids, sustainable food, tourism, and energy-efficient products and services o Ireland recognises the key role that the Green Economy can play in fulfilling Medium Term Economic Strategy ambitions across all Govt Departments and Agencies, through facilitating economic recovery, improving competitiveness and future-proofing employment prospects.
  25. 25. Green Economy – Part 2 National initiatives/progress o ‘Delivering our Green Potential’ policy statement (Nov 2012), sets out Govt policy on Growth and Employment in Green Economy in Ireland o Important that it’s Ministry of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation driving green agenda – broadening championing role beyond Environment Ministry o Shares the aim of OECD’s Green Growth Strategy in attempting to embed the 'green growth’ agenda across relevant policy areas o Progress Report on Growth and Employment in the Green Economy published in December 2013 o Other “green” initiatives: o Origin Green – sustainable agriculture practices and food preparation o Moving towards carbon-efficient agriculture sector – food security, reduce carbon leakage o Renewables
  26. 26. Public Participation o Ratification of Aarhus Convention - June 2012 o Now also able to participate in ACCC o Improved access to environmental information o Introduction of new statutory Guidelines on the preparation of LA Local Area Plans o Ministry continuing to ensure NGOs and relevant public organisations are included in development and implementation of national and local development policies, programmes and projects o Extensive engagement and consultation with NGOs and the wider public o Environmental Law Implementation Bureau o Consultations on policy / action responses to environment infringements/complaints
  27. 27. Environmental Legislation and Compliance – Part 1 o Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the competent authority for environmental licensing and enforcement of environmental law in Ireland o Mission – ‘To protect and improve the environment as a valuable asset for the people of Ireland’ o EPA published its new Strategic Plan, ‘Working with others for a Better Environment’, in February 2013 o its over-riding priority is to keep the environment centre-stage and support sustainable economic recovery o 9 strategic priorities for the next 3 years include clean water, better regulation, preventing environmental damage, accessible information, evidence-based decision-making, research programme, working with others, behaviour change and human health.
  28. 28. Environmental Legislation and Compliance – Part 2 o Progression of a range of initiatives to help simplify and clarify requirements of environmental regulations and promote better compliance:  Establishment of dedicated Environmental Compliance Unit within Ministry  Establishment of Environmental Law Implementation Group (ELIG) o Significant reduction in number of outstanding EU infringement proceedings, regarding environmental issues which in turn:  Reduces economic impacts (such as legal costs, fines, etc.) and uncertainty for stakeholders (national and international)  Reduces the risk of stalling of economic development - Green Economy  Learnt lessons – fines for EIA and lack of regulation of septic tanks.
  29. 29. Conclusion o EPR Mid-Term Review demonstrates substantial measure of progress achieved … but bar is constantly being raised, so have to adapt and over- achieve. o Very useful in determining environmental priorities and assessing if national policies are implemented and working o Radical and fundamental changes in Ireland since 2009 – both major challenges and opportunities o We recognise that more work is needed to meet EPR goals .. but committed to meeting its environmental challenges o Eager to learn from others and share experiences/aspirations/deliverables.
  30. 30. Conclusion Thank You for listening David.Walsh@environ.ie www.environ.ie www.epa.ie
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