The Environment and Law in Ireland
Ireland and the EU engage in process of continual change to the legisation governing the environment. People should at all times make themselves aware of the very wide range of Irish and EU legislation in force at any time concerning the environment and affecting the daily lives and operation of business in Ireland.
A sample of areas affected by laws and regulations are:
- Nature and biodiversity
- Integrated pollution control
- Waste management
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Noise pollution
- Environmental impact assessment
- Genetically modified organisms
Much of EU legislation to protect the environment is quite technical, in that it sets out detailed technical and scientific standards. It is also usual for the legislation to require member states to provide information to the European Commission about how they are implementing the rules and about how effective they have been.
In addition, there are a number of international conventions on environmental protection. In general, these are ratified by the EU and then implemented through EU legislation. The European Court of Justice has ruled in a previous decision that the EU has the power to require member states to establish criminal penalties for the purpose of protecting the environment.
Access to Information on environmental matters not already publicly available can be sought under Directive 2003/4/EC. This Directive on access to environmental information provides that individuals have the right to access certain environmental information held by public authorities. Information must be provided within one month of a request.