Posted by: stopbungalowchaos | November 29, 2009


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Posted by: stopbungalowchaos | November 3, 2009

EU court raps Ireland over septic tanks

THE EUROPEAN Court of Justice has reprimanded Ireland for not properly implementing EU rules on waste water in rural areas, which the European Commission said has caused “serious damage to the environment”.

In its judgment the EU court, which sits in Luxembourg, took the European Commission’s side, which said there were “serious shortcomings” in the way septic tanks and other private waste water treatment systems are installed and maintained throughout the countryside.

The European Court said that Ireland – with the exception of Co Cavan, which introduced water pollution bylaws in 2004 – had failed to properly implement a 1975 EU directive on waste. The Government has been ordered to pay its own costs and three-quarters of those incurred by the EU executive in the case.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley said in reaction to the judgment, “We know that in far too many instances septic tanks or onsite sewage treatment systems are causing pollution. The absence of a licensing and inspection system is a major weakness in our overall environmental management structures and this needs to be addressed.” He said he was launching a public consultation to look into the issue.

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on drinking water released this year found that the quality of private water supplies was inferior to those maintained by public authorities. It says that over 31 per cent of private group water schemes were contaminated with E. coli at least once during 2007 (184 out of 586).

However, Labour Party MEP Nessa Childers, the only Irish member of the European Parliament’s environment committee, described the court’s ruling as a “damning indictment” of the Government’s and Minister for the Environment John Gormley’s “green credentials”.

“The Greens should explain why a commitment in the new programme for government to introduce a scheme for the licensing and inspection of septic tanks and waste water treatment systems has been tarted-up and cynically presented as a new policy departure,” she said.

Gerard O’Leary of the EPA’s environmental enforcement office said proper treatment of waste water from septic tanks and other systems was a public health issue.

“If these systems are not designed and don’t dispose of the effluent properly, it’s lodged on your site, and . . . you can guarantee that E. coli is present.”

He said the EPA had been identifying concerns in drinking water reports for several years. More than 400,000 Irish homes had septic tanks in 2006, according to census data, due to the large number of scattered settlements in rural areas.


October 29 2009

Posted by: stopbungalowchaos | October 30, 2009

Landmark ECJ Ruling Against Ireland

The European Court of Justice yesterday (29th of October 2009) ruled against Ireland with respect to our failure to transpose into Irish Legislation the EU Waste Directive 75/442/EEC (C-188/08). The ECJ Judgment was widely anticipated and is likely to bring significant changes to our Building Control regulations with respect to rural housing in the countryside.

The ECJ Judgment Irelands plea in defense of the current situation and states:

‘In Ireland’s submission, waste waters covered by the present action are not ‘waste’ within the meaning of Directive 75/442 because they are not in the ‘list of wastes belonging to the categories listed in Annex I’ adopted by the Commission under Article 1(a) in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 18 of that directive. It also challenges the relevance of the headings in the nomenclature cited by the Commission. Ireland also draws attention to the practical difficulties which the classification of such waste waters as ‘waste’ would involve, since it is confronted with the management of 400 000 dwellings scattered in the countryside. It submits also that the 5th, 6th, 10th and 12th recitals in the preamble to Directive 75/442 indicate that it does not cover IWWTS.’

The ECJ agreed with the arguments presented by the European Commission and ruled against Ireland:

‘On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby:

1. Declares that, by failing to adopt, save in County Cavan, all the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Articles 4 and 8 of Council Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste, as amended by Council Directive 91/156/EEC of 18 March 1991, as regards domestic waste waters disposed of in the countryside through septic tanks and other individual waste water treatment systems, Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under that directive;

2. Orders Ireland to pay three quarters of the costs of the Commission of the European Communities and to bear its own costs;

3. Orders the Commission of the European Communities to bear one quarter of its own costs.’

Posted by: stopbungalowchaos | October 29, 2009

One Off Ireland – The True Extent of the Issue

The true extent of Irelands one-off housing issue is fully illustrated in this Map by the Environmental Protection Agency in Irelands Environment 2008. The Map shows new residential addresses registered in Ireland in just a two year period 2005-2007 and illustrates vividly that sustainable land use patterns in accordance with the Government policy including the National Spatial Stragey is not being achieved in practice. The massive proliferation of urban generated one-off rural housing (96,000 units granted planning permission between 2004 and 2008) undermines all attempts to efficiently deliver infrastructure and services together with imposing long-term economic, social and environmental costs on society.

Report by the EPA highlights the Irelands highly dispersed rural housing phenomenon as being one of the key challenges facing Ireland in achieving sustainable development and states:

‘…rural areas have experienced widespread construction of single rural dwellings and the suburbanisation of villages close to towns and cities. While guidelines for rural housing and best practiceperceived as being in conflict with the objectives of economic development, it should be noted that within the context of sustainable development, economic and social well-being is intrinsically linked with protecting the environment. The underlying principle of sustainable development is that the natural resources and environmental conditions fundamental to the economic and social well-being of future generations are not exhausted
or degraded, but enhanced and maintained.’

Posted by: stopbungalowchaos | August 4, 2009

Council Admit Damage to Toursit Industry From Dispersed Housing

THE COUNTRYSIDE in Co Kerry has been damaged significantly by the proliferation of one-off houses, Kerry County Council has acknowledged in new guidelines it has published to protect the remaining landscape. Foreign tourists have commented widely upon the damage, according to a new booklet issued by the council for applicants looking for planning permission for rural houses. More than half of the houses in Kerry, or 34,000 of 66,000, are in the countryside. About half the permanent population live in rural areas. However, houses are not integrated into the landscape, especially in areas where the landscape was exposed and barren, the guidelines state. “It is clearly evident from travelling around the county that significant damage has already been done to the landscape ,” the introduction by senior planning engineer Paul Stack says. The damage by scattered houses had been commented widely upon by tourists who nevertheless still saw the Kerry countryside as beautiful and spectacular, Mr Stack writes. “We should heed the warning and address the integration issue going forward,” the introduction to the guidelines continues. The landscape in Kerry could only accommodate a certain number of houses before irreversible damage was done to the landscape and water sources, it warned. A meeting of Kerry County Council, however, has heard a call for a loosening up of the planning permissions in north Kerry. Sinn Féin Listowel area councillor Robert Beasley said people wishing to build in rural areas were being told by the council to go instead to nearby towns or villages. Planning regulations were making it “almost impossible for people to build in rural areas”, he said. Councillors across the board are calling for a loosening of the planning system to extend planning permissions to landowners for rural houses to help create jobs in rural areas in the downturn.

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