Agri-food sector features heavily in latest EPA worst offenders list

Published by Niall Sargent on

April 23rd, 2018

The agri-food sector continues to struggle with environmental regulatory compliance issues, the latest worst offender’s list from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows.

The National Priority Sites List for October 2017 to March 2018 lists seven Irish industrial facilities that have had major environmental regulatory compliance issues over the preceding months.

Four of the sites are in the agri-food sector, after making up over half of offenders in previous lists. These sites are earmarked by the EPA for stringent monitoring and enforcement going forward.

The seven sites represent less than 1 per cent of industrial sites licensed by the EPA yet account for over a quarter of complaints and 13 per cent of open compliance investigation files.

Those named-and-shamed include Aurivo Dairy Ingredients Limited, Co. Roscommon, Lacpatrick Dairies Limited, Co. Monaghan, Rosderra Irish Meats Group, Co Offaly and Arrow Group, Co. Kildare.

Both Rosderra and Arrow Group were on the previous list, while Rosderra also appeared on the first list issued in July 2017.

Rosderra and its subsidiary, Rosderra Farms, has previously been prosecuted by the EPA for non-compliance on a number of occasions – and hit with fines in the order of tens of thousands over the past decade.

Rear of the factory premises of Rosderra Irish Meats, Clara, Offaly Photo: Ian Paterson

Rear of the factory premises of Rosderra Irish Meats, Clara, Offaly Photo: Ian Paterson

The company is a member of Origin Green, created by Bord Bia and billed as the world’s first national food sustainability programme.

In 2014, then Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, attended Rosderra’s Origin Green certification launch at the facility for which the company is now receiving the EPA citation.

Three agri-businesses included in the Origin Green scheme appeared in the second EPA list released last October.

The remaining three sites on the current list are C & F Automotive Limited, Co. Westmeath, Glenmore Biogas Limited, Co. Donegal and T & J Standish (Roscrea) Limited, Co. Offaly.

Licensed facilities are identified as national priority sites for enforcement using a system developed by the EPA.

Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months.

Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a National Priority Site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action.

Shell Petrol Station Sign Photo: Mike Mozart

Shell Petrol Station Sign Photo: Mike Mozart

Five sites have come off the previous List following improvements in compliance, including Irish Cement Limited, Co Limerick and Shell E&P Ireland Limited, Co Mayo.

Shell E & P Ireland previously told The Green News that the company was included on the EPA’s list in relation to compliance investigations and public complaints related to a gas export incident last year.

In September 2017, a volume of unodourised gas from the Bellanaboy Terminal in Co Mayo entered the gas network and was required to be flared. Flaring resulted in increased noise levels and visual impact from the gas terminal site, according to the EPA.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London