Feedback invited on how Ireland is implementing international conventions on environmental law and justice, and pollution registers

 

Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications today 26 November 2020 has asked the public to give their views on the implementation of two international conventions related to the environment - the Aarhus convention and the PRTR Protocol 2021.

The consultation focuses on:

  • Ireland’s National Implementation Report on the Aarhus Convention (the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) - and
  • Ireland’s National Implementation Report on the PRTR Protocol (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers).

Aarhus Convention
The Aarhus Convention lays down a set of basic rules to promote citizens’ involvement in environmental matters and improve enforcement of environmental law. Its provisions are broken down into three pillars - access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice. Ireland ratified the Aarhus Convention on 20 June 2012. The convention text can be seen here.

PRTR Protocol
The PRTR Protocol seeks to reduce the burden of pollution and waste by establishing publicly accessible national pollutant registers. The Protocol requires each of its Parties to establish and maintain a publicly accessible national PRTR that meets certain requirements which are set out in the Protocol. The Irish PRTR, which was launched in 2007, is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency and is available here.

National Implementation Reports
Every four years, each Party to the Convention and the Protocol is required to submit national implementation reports to the secretariat of the Aarhus Convention. This is to enable the secretariat to review the implementation of the Convention and the Protocol at national level. The Irish reports set out both the legislation and practical measures used to implement the Convention and the Protocol in Ireland.

In preparing the National Implementation Reports, Minister Ryan is encouraging members of the public - and other parties with an interest in the protection of Ireland’s environment - to submit comments on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention and the PRTR Protocol in Ireland. To facilitate this public participation, two versions of each report have been prepared. The first are copies of the reports submitted in 2017 with updates and amendments visible in ‘tracked changes’ format. The second are ‘clean’ versions which aim to set out the current position in Ireland.

The purpose of these consultations is to provide the UNECE, the Aarhus Convention Secretariat and the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee with the widest possible range of views and opinions on issues related to the implementation and practical arrangements for the promotion of the Aarhus Convention and PRTR Protocol in Ireland.

Comments and submissions received before 21 January 2021 will be considered and, where appropriate, reflected in the final report.

The draft reports on which comments are sought and are available here.

Comments on the draft document should be submitted by email or received by post no later than 5pm on 21 January 2021 to the addresses below:

Email: environmentpolicy@decc.gov.ie

Post:
Aarhus, Climate Adaptation and Citizen Engagement Division
Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications
Newtown Rd
Carricklawn
Wexford
Y35 AP90