Environmental NGOs concerned lobbyists will block waste tyre regulations

Published by Niall Sargent on

October 23rd, 2017

Lobbying from the tyre industry is putting proposed regulations on waste tyres under threat, Ireland’s leading environmental NGOs have said.

The Environmental Pillar – an advocacy coalition of 26 national environmental NGOs – has alleged that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment is being lobbied by the tyre industry and some TDs to block or water down the regulation.

In a letter sent to the Committee this morning, the Pillar outlined its “opposition” to this approach, which it says is “designed to delay this essential legislation in the hope that it will never be enacted”.

A spokesperson for the Committee told The Green News that the letter will be discussed by the Committee at its next meeting which will be held in a private session at 12pm tomorrow.

New Tyre Regulation

Environment Minister Denis Naughten, TD recently signed regulations to establish a compliance scheme for tyre operators. The new regulations will establish a visible Environmental Management Cost (vEMC) per tyre that will go directly towards used tyre collection, transport and disposal.

Under the new regulations, tyre operators will also have to provide data on the numbers of tyres coming on and off the market.

Minister Denis Naughten will attend the Council meeting tomorrow Photo: Environment Ireland

At present, consumers pay twice for the disposal of used tyres through the informal disposal fee charged at the discretion of retails – between €1.50 and €3.50 per tyre – and then again through taxation when local authorities are forced to clean up illegally dumped tyres.

In the letter sent this morning, the Pillar called on the Committee to give the new regulations their full support and to also push for even stronger regulations.

The Pillar is calling for an independent body to be established “to ensure transparent data and tracking management” and a “more robust enforcement environment” to ensure strict end of life management.

“We believe that the industry is not in the position to create a transparent licensing and tracking system to ensure the proper treatment (either through recycling, recovery or disposal) of used tyres given their past history,” the letter continues.

The Green News contacted the Irish Tyre Industry Association, however, did not receive an answer at the time of publication.

Health and Environmental Hazards

There are currently no tyre recycling facilities in Ireland and lax regulations on disposal, with used tyres shipped to England or Europe for disposal or dumped illegally in Ireland.

The number of illegally dumped tyres scattered across the country is conservatively estimated to be around 750,000, with 35,000 tonnes of waste tyres generated annually.

The Pillar’s letter indicates that any further delay in passing regulations will lead to an “increase in the stockpiled tyres throughout Ireland’s countryside, creating fire and toxic smoke hazards”.

According to Pillar spokesperson, Mindy O’Brien, dumped waste tyres are a “major litter and environmental problem in Ireland”.

Tyres do not break down naturally and remain in the environment for thousands of years if dumped, she said, adding that environmental NGOs have been campaigning for regulation for years.

“In addition there are very serious health risks associated with burning of tyres, which give off highly toxic fumes and are nearly impossible to extinguish,” Ms O’Brien added.

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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