Friday, 12 September 2008

Steps being taken to convince commission of action on water

WATER QUALITY: IRELAND IS unlikely to be fined for non-compliance with regulations on waste water treatment plants, given the level of remedial action planned at six sites named in a European Court of Justice decision yesterday.

However, urgent steps are being taken this week to convince the EU of the Republic’s determination to tackle infringements in relation to a further two EU directives, on drinking water quality and dangerous substances.

European Court of Justice decisions on both of these directives have already found against Ireland and both are at the stage where Ireland is at risk of being fined.

According to Minister for the Environment John Gormley, Ireland has made significant progress in persuading the EU that breaches in relation to the waste water directive were being addressed.

But persuading the EU that breaches of the drinking water directive and the dangerous substance directive were being addressed would be more difficult.

Responding to yesterday’s European Court decision which named breaches at Bray, Co Wicklow; Shanganagh, Co Dublin; Howth, Co Dublin; Sligo town; Tramore, Co Waterford, and Letterkenny, Co Donegal – Mr Gormley said Ireland was “already working” to address the deficiencies identified in the case.

He was “disappointed” these cases had gone so far, due to “mainly technical or legal difficulties”.

The EU Commission is to write to Mr Gormley next week, giving the State two weeks to respond with firm remedial proposals to avoid fines which could run to millions of euro a year.

The Irish Times

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