Agri-food sites top environmental watchdog ‘name and shame’ list

Firms responsible for persistent odour, noise or dust emissions problems flagged by EPA

Licensed facilities are identified as priority sites for enforcement using a scoring system developed by the EPA. File photograph: Getty Images

Licensed facilities are identified as priority sites for enforcement using a scoring system developed by the EPA. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Five of the nine sites on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest “name and shame” list of most non-compliant sites among companies it regulates under licence are from the agri-food sector.

The “national priority sites list for enforcement” covers the April to September 2018 period.

In July 2017, the agency introduced a “name and shame” list of the most non-compliant sites. Companies giving rise to persistent odour, noise or dust emissions problems are highlighted, with updates every quarter. The sites involved, once listed, are subject to more attention by its inspectors through further enforcement action over following months.

Nine sites are on the latest list for failing to meet necessary environmental standards; an increase of four from the previous list.

The five sites from the agri-food sector are: Rosderra Irish Meats Group in Edenderry, Co Offaly; Arrow Group based at Maudlins Industrial Estate in Naas, Co Kildare, a food processing company which includes Dawn Farms, International Meat Ingredients, QK Meats, Simply Soups and Pasta Concepts; Lacpatrick Dairies in Coolshannagh, Monaghan; Western Brand Group, poultry processors in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, and Glanbia Foods Ireland Ltd in Laois the only facility not on the previous list published in July.

The main compliance issues were “causing odour and noise nuisance and failing to properly manage wastewater discharges”.

The food and drink sector also had the poorest compliance and highest number of prosecutions during 2017, said agency director general Laura Burke at a conference earlier this month. It “promotes itself on the clean green image of Ireland – it needs also to match this aspiration with action on the ground”, she added.

An Taisce’s advocacy officer Ian Lumley noted three of agri-food companies were members of the Bord Bia “Origin Green” sustainability food product and labelling system. “This puts into question credibility of the sustainability labelling of Irish food processors by Bord Bia. Appearance on an EPA worst offenders list should be incompatible with retaining a green label branding,” he said.

‘Poor waste management’

Three sites on the priority list are from the waste sector: Starrus Eco Holdings (Munster), a waste facility in Glanmire, Co Cork (which was on the previous list), Eras Eco Ltd in Youghal, Co Cork, and Hammond Lane Metal Company Ltd, a metals recycling company in Dublin. The main compliance issues “are poor waste management practices on site and causing odour”.

The other company on the list is C & F Automotive Ltd, Co Westmeath. The nine sites accounted for 43 per cent of all complaints received in this period, the agency confirmed.

Licensed facilities are identified as priority sites for enforcement using a scoring system developed by the agency. Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months. It updates the list on a quarterly basis.

Details of how sites are scored and on those on the priority list can be found on the EPA website www.epa.ie

Complaints about licensed sites can be made online via the website or by contacting the agency at 053-9160600.