Illegal peat extraction, bad odors and noise are among the complaints to the Environment Agency

ILLEGAL peat cutting was detected at 48 sites across the country last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed.

The incidents were among 55 investigated by the agency during the year for unauthorized industrial and waste activities.

Law enforcement officials are now working on cases to determine if prosecution should proceed.

They are also working on a thick file of complaints about authorized factories and industrial sites.

Bad smells and noise were the most common complaints from citizens.

Noise complaints more than doubled to 664, just below the 686 odor complaints.

The second biggest concern was air quality, which drew 65 complaints, and then water quality, which drew 33.

A total of 1,492 complaints were received about 125 industrial sites during the year.

That’s slightly more than one in seven of the 844 locations licensed and regulated by the EPA.

EPA said the public’s role in reporting noncompliant or illegal operations is an important tool to address environmental issues.

“We encourage the public to report concerns,” it said.

In most cases, complaints are resolved after on-site visits and consultation with EPA inspectors.

In all of 2021, only 13 cases went to court. They resulted in €125,000 in fines, €180,000 in costs awarded to the EPA and €5,000 in charitable donations.

However, some facilities required many visits. Nine websites required at least 10 visits and one was visited more than 30 times.

That was part of Arrow Group in Naas, Co. Kildare, where the company operates a number of food processing operations.

It has been the subject of repeated odor and noise complaints and spent a second year on the EPA’s national priority list, which gives it special attention.

Three other companies made the list for the second year: Arran Chemical Company, Saint Gobain Construction Products and Tipperary Cooperative Creamery.

Eight of the 11 sites that made the list last year were involved in the food and beverage industry and in intensive farming.

“These sectors need to improve if Ireland is to support its green image of sustainable food and drink production,” said Darragh Page of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement.

“Our enforcement goal is to ensure that these sites resolve the environmental issues and that the sites are compliant again.” Illegal peat extraction, bad odors and noise are among the complaints to the Environment Agency

Fry Electronics Team

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