Wednesday, 24 October 2018
I thank the Senator for raising this issue. Both of us are dairy farmers and know that this is a serious issue. The farming sector is becoming much greener than ever before, which is a really good step.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, thanks the Senator for bringing forward this Commencement matter. Repak End of Life Tyres, Repak ELT, commenced operations on 1 October 2017 as the compliance scheme for the tyres and waste tyres sector, under the Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2017, with a registration and reporting role for The Producer Register Limited. The compliance scheme carries out regulatory functions on behalf of its members and is funded by a visible environmental management charge. Under the Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2017, farmers are not allowed to stockpile tyres on farms. Where farmers use tyres to cover silage, they are prohibited from having more than eight tyres per square metre of any silage pit’s floor area. Since 1 October 2017, any farmer who wishes to take in waste tyres for the purpose of anchoring silage must register with the new tyre compliance scheme, Repak ELT.
The previous Minister made funding of €1 million available in 2017 for local authorities to deal with the clean-up of existing stockpiles of waste tyres across the country. The funding was provided to support the introduction of the new compliance scheme. At the time, he also indicated that he would look at the issue of tyres on farms. To that end, he announced on 13 September this year that funding of €700,000 would be made available in 2018 to assist farmers in removing waste tyre stockpiles from farms. The funding was intended to give farmers an opportunity to remove unwanted tyres from farms and ensure the tyres were treated in an environmentally sound manner. The vast majority of tyres collected are to be recycled in Ireland, which will support Irish jobs and the circular economy. Irish Farm Film Producers Group Limited, the national farm plastics recycling compliance scheme, agreed to organise the removal of waste tyres from farms through the holding of four bring centre collection days throughout the country. The collections - the centres were chosen because they represented a good geographical spread - took place in Cavan, New Ross, Athenry Mart in Galway and Monard, County Tipperary. In total, approximately 4,253 tonnes of tyres were collected at the bring centres and the €700,000 budget for 2018 was fully spent. The Department is reviewing the results of the process and, in conjunction with other stakeholders, will assess whether further collection days could be centrally funded during 2019.