Over 1,600 firms sign up to scheme to prevent dumping of old tyres
Levy of up to €2.80 to go to recycling of end-of-life car tyres to halt waste on farms
Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten pointed to local authorities’ estimates that more than 750,000 tyres had been dumped in sites around the country. Photograph: Alan Betson
More than 20,000 farms have been affected by illegal dumping, according to Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten.
Old tyres, domestic rubbish, old fridges, cookers and other electrical kitchen goods are among the items illegally dumped on one in seven of the almost 140,000 farms across the State.
The Minister said more than 1,600 tyre retailer, producer and collector premises had already signed up to a new regulatory scheme to deal with the illegal dumping of end-of-life tyres.
Under the scheme €2.80 will be added to the cost of a car tyre and €1.50 to a motorbike tyre to pay for the proper, legal recycling of end-of-life tyres.
Last month, a clean-up operation was undertaken to remove some 200 tyres illegally dumped in the Feather Beds area of the Dublin mountains.
Removing illegal dumping costs local authorities millions of euro every year.
Mr Naughten said he had allocated €1 million to local authorities to remove stockpiles of waste tyres.
Insisting on the need for the new regulations to combat illegal dumping of end-of-life tyres, the Minister pointed to estimates by local authorities that more than 750,000 tyres had been randomly dumped in sites around the country.
“Over 20,000 farms have been affected by illegal dumping. The level of illegal dumping of various waste types is a major environmental problem that needs to be met head-on,” he said.
The numbers signing up to the scheme demonstrates “the overwhelming majority of tyre suppliers want to ensure that their products are managed properly as waste”.
Under the regulations, a “visible environmental management cost” of €2.80 will be charged for every tyre purchased and €1.50 for every motorbike tyre to fund proper disposal of the tyres.
The scheme will be operated by waste recycling company Repak ELT, and the Producer Register Ltd will be responsible for registration and reporting on the regulations.
Tyre industry groups have opposed the move. They say the regulations will be unenforceable and will do nothing to stop people dumping tyres.
Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Timmy Dooley had asked the Minister how he planned to address concerns that the environmental levy would push consumers to buy tyres outside the State.
Mr Naughten told him in a written parliamentary reply that he had met industry representative bodies. “I listened to their concerns and I have done my best to address as many of them as possible.”
The Minister stressed that the new structures would be supported by a strong enforcement regime and this would be a priority for local authorities, especially the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities. He added that the Environmental Protection Authority would have a new enforcement role to make sure producers register and provide all relevant data for the scheme.
Further levies are due to be introduced for truck, construction and agriculture tyres at a later stage, but bicycle tyres will be exempt.
Mr Naughten said there were one of five priority areas for enforcement and he had made €9 million available for waste enforcement.