2 - Environmental Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 2 (Environmental Policy) held on Monday, 2nd June, 2005 at 11.00 a.m. in the Meeting Room, Environment Section, Cleveragh Business Park, Sligo


  • Councillor Jim McGarry.


  • Councillor A. Higgins,
  • Councillor M. Barrett,
  • Councillor P. Conmy,
  • Councillor G. Mullaney,
  • Councillor M. Fleming,
  • S. Ward,
  • B. Queenan.


  • Mr. Pat Forkan, Director of Service,
  • Mr. John McHugh, Senior Engineer,
  • Ms. Emer Concannon, Senior Executive Engineer.
  • Ms. Breda Ronayne, Administrative Officer,
  • Mr. Conall Calleary, Veterinary Officer,
  • Mr. Matthew Byrne, Waste Enforcement Officer,
  • Ms. Rosie Morrisey, Executive Technician,
  • Ms. Alice Reynolds, Environmental Awareness Officer,
  • Ms. Mairead Clerkin, Staff Officer,
  • Ms. Ann Johnston, Assistant Staff Officer.


  • Councillor R. O’Grady,
  • Gearoid O’Connor


Proposed by Sally Ward
Seconded by Cllr. Higgins


“To confirm and adopt minutes of Environmental Policy meeting held on 28th February 2005”


Farm Plastics

Mr. Forkan said that Mr. Sean Campbell from the Irish Farm Films Plastics Group (IFFPG) rang him and said that Sligo was the best county for the control of farm plastic waste.   Cllr. Higgins agreed that there was good progress in relation to farm plastics and proposed that Mr. Byrne, Enforcement Officer, get a list of names of contractors who purchase farm plastic in Ireland, this was seconded by Cllr. Barrett.   Mr. Queenan said that list may be obtained from Teagasc.   Cllr. Mullaney stated that farmers were not at fault when purchasing farm plastic as it may be smuggled in by contractors who were probably trying to avoid paying high tax levies.   Mr. Byrne stated that he has a list of contractors and that inspections have been carried out, he will forward this list to Mr. Forkan who will write to all on the list.

Western River Basin Management Project

An information leaflet on this project was distributed to all SPC members.


Ms. Reynolds, Environmental Awareness Officer, gave a presentation on the draft Litter Management Plan 2005-2008 for Sligo County Council and Sligo Borough Council and stated that the plan must be reviewed, slightly amended or entirely replaced every 3 years.   Ms. Reynolds outlined the objectives of the plan and the format for adoption.

Cllr. Barrett thanked Alice for the presentation and acknowledged her continuous work to raise education awareness through schools, etc.   Ms. Ward supported these comments.

Mr. Forkan stated that such initiatives had come a long way and praised everyone involved in the Anti-Litter Knock Out campaign held on 1st June 2005.   He stated that it was hoped that the Draft Litter Management Plan be brought to the full Council in July for adoption.  Cllr. McGarry stated that if any members of the SPC had a query on the draft Plan to contact Alice before July.

Cllr. Fleming thanked Alice for her presentation and queried Gurteen Village Street Clean.   Alice stated that there were 3 bins in Gurteen at present and that any problems in relation to these bins would need to be resolved by the Area Office and the community.   Alice to discuss with Cllr. Fleming.

Cllr. Higgins asked about the status of Green Flags, Ms. Reynolds stated that they are reviewed every 2 years


Mr. McHugh updated SPC members on the opening of the completed Recycling Centre in Tubbercurry.   He informed the meeting that the official opening will take place on Friday 24th June with full operation of the facility starting on Friday 1st July 2005.   He stated that Green Star is running the facility and that the opening will be well publicised in advance.

Mr. McHugh also stated that Waste Disposals Sligo are currently updating their facility at the Quays, Sligo.

Cllr. Fleming welcomed the fact that the date has been set for the launch and official opening for this excellent facility in Tubbercurry and also praised Waste Disposal Sligo for the upgrading of their facility.


Mr. Forkan outlined that the Draft Waste Management Plan (DWMP) was currently being reviewed by the relevant counties and that a consultant had been appointed to compile the draft.   He said that the plan is not on target due to the recent EU decision on old landfills in which Sligo has only two landfills closed since 1977.

Under the DWMP, Sligo has similar commitments to that of the previous plan with the Biological Treatment plant a major target.   Mr. Forkan outlined that Sligo are finding it difficult to meet with the 60% landfill target because there is no incinerator and we rely on Mayo’s landfill site.   Cllr. Higgins expressed his concern that these major targets have not been met effectively but Mr. Forkan outlined that Green Star plan to open a landfill in Galway in the next couple of years and reiterated that Sligo are and hope to use the landfill in Mayo for the next number of years.   Cllr. Conmy expressed concern that Mayo were not very favourable of Sligo’s waste going to their landfill.   In response, Mr. Forkan stated that it was costing Sligo County Council €150 per tonne annually while Cllr. Higgins commented that Sligo should have their own landfill.

In response to a query by Cllr. Fleming, Mr. McHugh gave details of the proposed biological treatment plant at Moygara, Gurteen.

Mr. Forkan mentioned the need for a biological treatment plant for Sligo and said it might be accommodated at the site of the proposed wastewater treatment plant at Finisklin.


Ms. Concannon gave the SPC members an update on the current situation with Barna Waste Collectors and she spoke about policies and target achievements.   

She explained that Sligo introduced the pay by bag system in March 2002 and this system is still being used by Barna Waste, though they are proposing to introduce an annual flat charge per household.   Sligo County Council is having ongoing discussions with Barna Waste with regard to maintaining the existing pay-by-use system.

Cllr. Higgins commented that Sligo have been successful in recycling initiatives but stated that Barna’s proposal has to be addressed.   These comments were supported by Cllr. McGarry and Cllr. Fleming. Cllr. Fleming proposed that Sligo County Council try and resolve this issue and keep the pay-by-bag system in operation, this was seconded by Cllr. Higgins and agreed.

Mr. McHugh in reply stated that Sligo County Council strongly oppose the introduction of an annual flat charge.


Ms. Concannon gave the SPC members a presentation on the current Draft Waste Presentation Bye-laws (DWPB).   This presentation outlined relevant legislation, procedures, its purpose and provisions.

Ms. Concannon said that 31% of households in Sligo were not availing of a collection service.   She stated that it is hoped that these bye-laws be approved by the SPC members and brought to the full Council for approval to put on public display.  She advised that the bye-laws were currently being edited by the Council Solicitor for legal purposes but that the content would remain the same.

Cllr. Higgins said that every household should be availing of a waste service by either purchasing a pre-paid bag for collection or by disposing of waste through a permitted waste facility. Cllrs. Fleming, Conmy and McGarry agreed and supported the introduction of the proposed bye-laws.  Cllr. Fleming raised concern about recent confusion with regard to the alternate weeks for recycling and residual waste.  Ms. Ward expressed concern over the issue of bags being left out by users of holiday homes well in advance of the collection day, thus causing a litter nuisance.  Ms Concannon advised that the problem of leaving bags out for collection for days or weeks in advance of the collection day, would be addressed by the proposed bye-laws.

Cllr. McGarry proposed that the DWPB as amended by legal council be sent to the full council for approval to be put on public display.  This was seconded by Cllr. Conmy and agreed.


(This item was deferred to item no. 8 on the agenda)
Mr. McHugh stated that the technical guidance document in relation to single house treatment systems was prepared.   Ms. Concannon gave a brief outline regarding statistics, impacts, planning stages and the proposal to set up a panel of Planning Consultants with expertise in on-site treatment systems.

Cllr. Mullaney expressed concern that double fees were being paid by applicants to agents to carry out tests on water and sewerage treatments for planning permission and that this panel would benefit applicants and stop double payment.  Cllr. Higgins agreed.


Ms. Ronayne gave an update in relation to the proposed updating of bye-laws for Rosses Point, Mullaghmore, Enniscrone, Streedagh, Dunmoran, Strandhill and Culleenamore beaches.   The current bye-laws for these beaches were adopted by the full council in May 2000. 

Cllr. Barrett expressed concern that the current bye-laws need to be updated because of ongoing issues such as dogs, fires etc. and she agreed with Cllr. McGarry when he suggested that members read the existing bye-laws and suggest amendments if necessary.


It was agreed by the SPC members that the date for the next SPC meeting be fixed for 1st week in September, details to be finalised.

However, Ms. Ronayne stated that it may be necessary to call a special SPC meeting in July for the Draft Waste Management Plan.

The meeting concluded at 1 pm.

Meeting Date 02/06/2005