2 - Environmental Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 2 (Environmental Policy) held on Tuesday, 11th December, 2007 at 11 a.m. in the Meeting Room, Environmental Services Section, Cleveragh Business Park, Sligo


CATHAOIRLEACH:

  • Councillor Michael Fleming

IN ATTENDANCE:

  • Mr. B. Queenan,
  • Councillor P. Conmy,
  • Councillor M. Fleming,
  • Councillor G. Mullaney,
  • Councillor A. Higgins,
  • Councillor J. McGarry

OFFICIALS IN ATTENDANCE:

  • Ms Rita McNulty, Director of Service
  • Mr. John McHugh, Senior Engineer
  • Ms. Emer Concannon, Senior Executive Engineer
  • Ms. Eithne Garvin, Administrative Officer
  • Ms. Fiona Kelly, Environmental Awareness Officer
  • Ms. Ann Johnston, Acting Staff Officer

APOLOGIES:

  • Ms. Sally Ward

It was proposed by Councillor Mullaney and seconded by Councillor Higgins that Councillor Michael Fleming takes the chair in the absence of Chairman, Councillor Jim McGarry

Councillor M. Fleming extended a welcome to everyone at the meeting.

1. CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES:   

It was proposed by Councillor Queenan Seconded by Councillor Mullaney

AND AGREED

 β€œTo confirm and adopt minutes of the SPC Environmental Policy meeting held on 10th October, 2007”.

2. MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising from the Minutes

3. LOUGH GILL/ AUGHAMORE

At the outset Mr. John McHugh explained that there was public concern recently in the Lough Gill/Aughamore area and in this regard he felt it was appropriate to advise the SPC Members of the situation in relation to this.

The Environmental Section are targeting the Aughamore Catchment as part of the Operational Plan for 2007, in relation to environmental issues and in particular water quality.  Surveys have been carried out in the area and enforcement action is being taken where necessary.

Sligo County Council are dealing with legacy issues as many of the activities in the area are pre-planning.  Progress is being made in this area. 

Councillor Higgins felt that when there were concerns about unauthorised developments in any area the Council should use enforcement powers immediately.

4. LOUGH GILL LEITRIM COUNTY COUNCIL

John McHugh outlined the partnership approach being taken by Sligo County Council and Leitrim County Council in relation to the protection of Lough Gill as a drinking water source for both counties.  Information leaflets have been distributed on septic tanks and good farming practices in relation to environmental issues in the catchment.  Further work will be carried out as a project under the Western River Basin Project.

5. REPORT 2007

Ms. Emer Concannon gave a report on the some of the main achievements for 2007 in the Section in conjunction with the invaluable help of SPC Members: They were as follows:

Source Protection Plans,
Beach Bye-laws,
Litter Management Plan,
Bring Bank Upgrade,
Green Waste Facility,
Green Schools,
Community Projects,
Recycling Rates,
Collection Routes and
Waste Enforcement Packing, End of Life Vehicles, Waste Electrical Equipment and Plastic Bag Regulations.

Following a discussion Councillor Fleming added that the introduction of the CCTV cameras for the bring bank network was a great help in assisting with convictions for illegal dumping.

Councillor Mullaney enquired about the Farm Plastic Collection for 2008.

Emer Concannon explained that an extra levy was being introduced nationally to cover the cost of collection and disposal.

Emer agreed to check out the details on the collection further and to advise the Committee in this regard.

Councillor McGarry asked that the Council negotiate further with Merville Community Council regarding the re-installation of the bottle bank network in the Maugheraboy area.  He stated that there was no recycling facility in the area.

Fiona Kelly undertook to contact the Committee again in this matter

Councillor Fleming enquired about a Meeting in Tubbercurry on 11th December with local businesses regarding discharge licences in the Tubbercurry area.

Emer Concannon outlined the position stating that the Tubbercurry stream was categorised as seriously and the EPA have directed the Council to carry out a number of measures including ensuring all appropriate premises obtain discharge licences under the Water Pollution Acts.

The Council have worked with the business premises since July, 2007 but only one application has been made to date

Ms. Rita McNulty, Director of Services stressed to the meeting that if discharge licences are not applied for in the short term, enforcement action would have to be taken by Sligo County Council, otherwise Sligo County Council could be prosecuted by the EPA for failure to implement the directive

Councillor McGarry raised the question of the role of the Health Services Executive in monitoring the inclusion of grease traps in food preparation as part of their licence.

Emer Concannon agreed that this should be investigated.

Councillor Conmy proposed that it would be beneficial that the SPC view best practice in Waste Management by travelling to European cities such as Brussels etc. 

Councillor Fleming enquired about when the Source Protection Plan for Lough Talt, Calry and Kilsellagh would be in place.  Emer Concannon informed the meeting that they would be going before the Council in January 2008.

6. BUDGET     

John McHugh advised that the Draft Annual Budget was presented to the County Manager for consideration.

He stated that additional costs were requested for

  1. Operational costs for Green Waste Facility, Ballisodare
  2. Special Study on Finisklin landfill
  3. New Drinking Water Regulations – provision of additional staff for both administrative work and monitoring.

John enquired if members had any issues, policy issues or suggestions for inclusion in a Works Programme for 2008. 

This could be discussed further at a future SPC Meeting in January, 2008 when a Programme will be decided.

Councillor McGarry enquired if there was any new legislation which would require additional staffing. 

Emer Concannon advised that meeting that the New Drinking Water Regulations 2007 had significant implications as already discussed.  New Regulations in relation to licensing of local authority waste water treatment plants will require extra resources in 2008.  Some of the work may be done by external consultants.

7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Councillor McGarry said he received a call from a surfer in Strandhill stating that as a result of a blood injury he received in the water he was treated for septicaemia. 

He enquired if there was pollution in Strandhill. John McHugh indicated that no tests were carried out in Strandhill as it is not a designated bathing area but he undertook to investigate the matter and get back to the Committee.  John also said that there were no other such complaints to the Council

Councillor Mullaney enquired about boring of wells He was advised by John McHugh that there is no current legislation in relation to the boring of domestic wells, but this may be looked at under the Water Framework Directive.

Councillor Mullaney enquired as to the position of the Lough Arrow Catchment Management Plan.  John McHugh informed the meeting that the plan would be brought before the SPC in the first half of 2008.  Councillor Mullaney also enquired about the progress made in relation to illegal dumping in Geevagh.  John McHugh informed the meeting that land-owners were to be contacted but issues in relation to commonage are proving difficult

Councillor Fleming queried if the opening hours at Tubbercurry Civic Amenity could be extended and he was informed by John McHugh that the matter would be discussed with the operator.

Councillor Fleming extended a warm welcome to Ms Eithne Garvin, Administrative Officer and wished her well in her new post.  He also thanked everyone on the Committee for their progressive work in 2007.


Meeting Date 11/12/2007