I’m Laura Burke I’ve probably met a lot of you here already this morning
and as Director of the Office of Climate Licensing and Resource Use in the EPA
I’d like to welcome everybody here this morning to this, it’s a very significant event, in the Local Authority Prevention Programme.
The LAPN initiative which I am sure you are all aware is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency
through the National Waste Prevention Programme and the Environment Fund.
The importance of it is the work is in collaboration with yourselves the local authorities.
Over the last 4 years the programme has successfully developed capacity for implementing projects locally
and very importantly also at community level across the country.
The Programme has been highlighted favourably by the European Commission,
by the OECD Review of Environmental Performance in Ireland and also by the International Review of Waste Policy.
The Local Authority Prevention Programme has been developed to enable all local authorities
to work in partnership with the EPA on agreed national waste priorities.
As you will hear from our various speakers there is a strong policy commitment on waste prevention
both at an EU and also at a national level.
The programme plays a very important role in achieving these waste prevention objectives.
The LAPN programme began as a demonstration programme in 2006
and aimed to show that local authorities could design and implement
effective, local, integrated waste prevention programmes and projects
with support provided by way of direct technical expertise and also with grant monies.
The grant aid is primarily intended to allow local authorities to appoint staff
to work on dedicated prevention projects or programmes.
In many instances local authority staff have been seconded to work specifically on these projects
and we find that this is when the projects are most effective.
The programme in itself has developed capacity in local authorities so that their staff can in turn
enable local organisations, including their own, to prevent waste.
We are really happy with the programme and think over the last 4 years it really has been developed,
by yourselves, to be extremely successful.
There are now core prevention officers based in local authorities around the country
who have expertise in resource efficiency and waste prevention.
Here I’d like to compliment these prevention officers on their continued enthusiasm
and commitment to promoting waste prevention and resource efficiency
and also to thank their managers for the commitment to the programme.
I hear in my travels not only in Ireland but also when I spoke in Europe
with regards to the Waste Prevention Programme it is really seen to be as a model programme
and the LAPN Programme and the achievements of that have been complimented both far and wide.
In these difficult economic times though I would have to emphasise that senior management commitment
and senior local authority commitment is necessary to ensure that the prevention officers have the management support
to effectively carry out their work in a true cost cutting manner
and to provide strategic direction to the programme.
So it’s all about leadership from the top as well.
I congratulate the local authorities involved in the programme
and the businesses and other organisations who are taking part
and today you are going to hear about a wide range of successful projects that are currently underway.
All the local authorities taking part in the programme are working with local businesses and organisations
improving resource efficiency practices and I suppose in this day and age
very importantly, achieving significant cost savings as well.
The LAPN is just one of a whole family of national waste prevention projects
and the aim of the National Waste Prevention Project is to deliver substantive results
on waste prevention including water and energy.
Just because we talk about the National Waste Prevention Programme
it does include water and energy and to integrate a range of incentives addressing awareness raising,
technical and financial assistance, training and incentive mechanisms as well.
So just quickly some other programmes that are part of the NWPP
first one is the Green Business Initiative and this one is aimed at the business community in Ireland
with an emphasis on small to medium size enterprises.
It provides tools and methodologies to help organisations to make financial savings
by looking at their resource use and in turn that helps the environment.
It is a free service to business so if there are any businesses in your areas
that you think will benefit from this please go out and promote this service as well because it is a newer project.
We also have the Green Hospitality Award and that’s a programme that has achieved savings in excess of €3 million
for the 190 participating hotels.
We are all aware the difficulties the hotel sector is in so that type of saving is incredibly significant for their businesses.
It provides an environmental management system based award scheme, support, training,
benchmarking tools and audits and over 80 hotels in Ireland have already achieved this award.
The Green Schools Programme you’ll all be aware is operated by An Taisce
and is one of the most successful programmes worldwide.
In Ireland over 80% of schools are part of the Green Schools Programmes, around 3500 schools are participating
of which 2000 have been awarded the coveted Green Flag.
An initiative called the Green Home is being funded by the National Waste Prevention Programme
to build on the success of the Green Schools Programme and to spread prevention to homes and the communities.
Effectively using the knowledge and the expertise that has been developed by the children
to bring that back into their own homes and the wider community to encourage waste prevention
and environmental awareness.
Indeed yesterday I attended the award ceremony for 37 different schools who have participated in this programme.
Any of you who were up relatively early this morning and heard Morning Ireland there was a great piece
about the Green Homes Programme on Morning Ireland this morning.
The Packaging Waste Prevention Programme with Repak aims to assist Irish businesses with positive
and practical ways to reduce packaging and to promote these achievements to a wider audience.
There are loads of different other projects going on and programmes
and I’d urge delegates to visit the display area in the foyer outside, you may have done already,
where there is more detailed information on the wide range of programmes being undertaken by all the partners in the programme.
The project participants are also there on hand to tell you about best practice
and know-how that has been developed in these particular projects and to answer any queries or questions you might have.
Why prevent waste? Within EU and National Waste Policy
waste prevention is the highest and most desirable point in the hierarchy of societal responses.
Waste prevention is preferred to any waste management option i.e. you don’t generate the waste.
By not generating waste we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste.
We can also avoid having to pay for these services.
The concept also covers the variation of processes so as to eliminate the potential
for harmful substances ending up in waste and making it harder then to reuse or recycle it afterwards.
A holistic approach to resource efficiency integrating water prevention,
waste prevention and energy conservation have an important part to play in meeting contributions
with regard to sustainability by both local authorities and by others.
It also achieves commitments in regional waste management plans and climate action plans.
The EPA is working in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
and the IDA to ensure an appropriate delivery of these services and also that it is comprehensive.
So that there is effectively one service offering to business
and the proper delivery of guidance and support with regard to these services
to all companies and businesses that are interested.
Today we’ve a really full and interesting agenda we have fabulous speakers
and I’d have to really thank them for agreeing to speak.
I know there’re many people looking to get people to speak at various conferences
so thank you very much to all for taking the time to speak at our conference.
The keynote address is from Professor John Fitzgerald from the Economic and Social Research Institute
and he will be giving an economic perspective to our discussions today.
So while we are focussing on reducing consumption of resources such as water and waste prevention
in order to meet various environmental policy objectives and commitments
we need to ensure that these are consistent and synergetic with economic realities
and that they deliver the appropriate results but all of needs to be taken into the broader economic consideration.
Particularly in these difficult economic times and John will give us his perspective on that.
Dermot Cunningham from the Clean Technology Centre
will then describe how over the last 4 years local authorities have been successfully demonstrating
resource efficiency techniques and best practices and the associated savings opportunities.
They have been working with local businesses and other organisations including local authorities themselves.
Best practice case studies and prevention know-how are available for each project for dissemination
and are available to anyone seeking to undertake similar efficiencies in their own areas.
That’s part of the point of today is so that everybody can learn from each other
and if somebody is doing something well in one area we can easily copy it and pull it into another area.
Regional Waste Management Plans have set out local authorities’ proposed approach to waste prevention
and Philippa King the Regional Waste Coordinator in the Limerick-Clare-Kerry Region will describe
how implementing a waste prevention and resource efficiency programme fits into the context
of the Regional Waste Management Plan.
And how by participating in the programme they are meeting waste prevention commitments that are made in the plan.
She’ll also talk about how they are implementing the plan and the programme on a regional basis.
Another important issue for local authority managers at the moment is the Climate Action Plan
and although the focus of the plan can often be on energy use,
waste prevention and water conservation also have an important role to play in tackling climate change.
Ray O’Dwyer who is the County Manager of Waterford County Council will talk on some of these issues.
After lunch we will hear about the policy basis for waste prevention resource efficiency and Ronan Mulhall,
the Principle Officer in the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
with responsibility for this, will outline waste prevention and resource efficiency
and how that fits into national policy and also the new EU Waste Framework Directive.
In fact programmes like this in Ireland are already well placed to meet requirements that are in the Waste Framework Directive.
Lastly we will also hear how they have been tackling waste prevention for over 10 years in Belgium
and Katrijn Siebens from OVAM the Public Waste Agency of Flanders will describe their experience in implementing
waste prevention programmes and how they're adapting to the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive.
So at the end of all that and by the end of the day we hope that you will know more about waste prevention resource efficiency
and how this is relevant to you and how you can benefit from the experience
and case studies generated by local authorities who are participating in the programme.
The programme is ongoing and all the programme outputs
and network meetings are available to any local authority in the country to use.
At present there is a small core of staff achieving significant results on a local scale.
For the programme to have a national impact we would like to see more local authorities getting involved.
Given your contacts and your established relationships with businesses and institutions
we see the local authorities as very important local champions for waste prevention
and as a central part and the future success of waste prevention programmes.
You also have unique opportunities through your development
and planning control roles to influence the nature and design of local development
such that it meets best practice from the eco-efficiency perspective taking into consideration things like clean technology,
waste prevention and minimisation as well as water and energy efficiency.
The good news is that there is still some funding available and local authorities
who are interested in implementing initiatives in their own areas should contact us for details
on the funding and the application process.
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Laura Burke, Director, Office of Licensing,Climate and Resource Use, EPA.
Opening address & welcome