Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Minerals Development Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Minerals Development Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 957 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 70 Next Page Last Page

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley I move amendment No. 12:

In page 51, between lines 8 and 9, to insert the following:
“(6) The Minister shall issue a report to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on each review of the regulations in this section.”.

  Amendment put and declared lost.

Debate adjourned.

Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I understand the Government Chief Whip has a proposal to put to the House.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the order of the Dáil of 4 July, that oral questions to the Minister for Education and Skills take place at the conclusion of the proceedings on Second Stage of the Independent Reporting Commission Bill 2017 or at 5 p.m., whichever is the later.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed? Agreed.

Minerals Development Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley I move amendment No. 13:

In page 51, lines 10 and 11, to delete “of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform” and substitute “of the Oireachtas”.

  Amendment put and declared lost.

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I move amendment No. 14:

In page 51, line 35, to delete “Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2014” and substitute “Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2016”.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I move amendment No. 15:

In page 67, line 29, to delete “Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2014” and substitute “Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2016”.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy James Lawless: Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless I move amendment No. 16:

In page 73, between lines 30 and 31, to insert the following:
“(3) To facilitate the rehabilitation of mine sites, the Minister shall mandate the Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with local authorities, to identify historic mining sites and associated waste sites that were closed before 1977.”.

This amendment relates to the plethora of historical sites throughout the country, many of which predate the planning permission and environmental protection arrangements now in place. The logic behind the amendment is to have a survey conducted of these historical sites, to create a central register to be managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, to advise on decisions to allow for the prospect of remediation of these sites and to allow for a better informed decision-making process when considering planning permission applications and environmental remediation options for these sites in the future.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. In 2006, following incidents at active mine sites in Spain and Romania, the European Union introduced Directive 2006/21/EC on the management of waste from extractive industries. Article 20 of the directive requires member states to produce an inventory of closed mine waste facilities. The directive was transposed into Irish law by SI 566/2009, also known as the Waste Management (Management of Waste from the Extractive Industries) Regulations 2009. Article 20 of the 2009 regulations provides that the EPA shall ensure an inventory of closed waste facilities, including abandoned waste facilities which cause serious negative environmental impacts or which have the potential to become in the medium or short term a serious threat to human health or the environment, is drawn up and periodically updated. Such an inventory which was to be made available to the public was to be carried out by 1 May 2012.

In response to this requirement, a comprehensive historical mine site inventory was undertaken by the EPA, the Geological Survey of Ireland, GSI, and the exploration and mining division of my Department which carried out surveys and analyses of mine sites. The work completed was published and included drawings, maps and diagrams of each of the closed mine sites. The report on the study entitled, Historic Mine Sites - Inventory and Risk Classification, was produced in 2009 and has resulted in the most comprehensive inventory of closed mine sites in Ireland. Geochemical site investigations were carried out at each mine site, consisting of analysis of solid waste, surface water, ground water, stream sediments and soil. There is a detailed review of the geochemistry of each mine site studied for the project. The report classifies the sites that present the greatest threat to human and animal health and the environment. The project initially located 220 mine sites across the country at which there had been extraction of minerals using the GSI databases. Of these, 128 were screened and 110 individual mine sites were identified for inclusion in the historical mine sites study. In the historical mine sites inventory and risk classification study, 27 historical mine sites and districts were assessed using a source pathway receptor conceptual model and then scored and assigned to one of five classes. Three mine sites, at Avoca, Silvermines and Tynagh, were scored at the highest risk. The report is available on the EPA's website.

Given the existing requirement in Irish law for the EPA to maintain a list of mine waste sites and the implementation and publication of the historical mine sites inventory and risk classification study, the Deputy's objectives have already been achieved. As such, it is not proposed to accept the amendment.

Deputy James Lawless: Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless That is a reasonable explanation. I am satisfied that the report has been conducted. On that basis, I will withdraw the amendment.

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I move amendment No. 17:

In page 75, to delete lines 33 to 41, and in page 76, to delete lines 1 to 3.

Sections 137 to 139, inclusive, of the Bill address obligations under the Aarhus Convention which has been ratified by Ireland in respect of aspects of rehabilitation plans. Where any activity is permitted that may have a significant effect on the environment, the public has a right to participation and ease of access to justice to review decisions. This would normally be addressed through the planning process, but where planning is not applicable, the Minister is subject to the obligations of the convention in respect of any relevant decision. General provision is made for this in sections 203 to 206, inclusive, of Part 7 of the Bill. These sections, however, are intended to apply the same obligations where a person or body other than the Minister, that is, a person authorised under section 135, prepares, revises or adopts a rehabilitation plan. The Attorney General has advised that section 137 is no longer considered necessary and may be deleted. Environmental impacts in regard to rehabilitation plans will be dealt with through the planning process.

  Amendment No. 22 is a technical amendment which has been recommended by the Office of the Attorney General on compliance with the Aarhus Convention in respect of public participation in activities which may have a significant effect on the environment. The amendment sets out the criteria that must be considered by the Minister in respect of exploration activities to determine whether they may have a significant effect on the environment and thus whether Article 6 of the convention in respect of public participation shall apply.

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley I oppose amendments Nos. 17 to 19, inclusive, because they remove an entire section relating to a decision on whether a rehabilitation plan will have a significant effect on the environment. Amendment No. 18 removes an entire section relating to public participation. The new section defines the information relevant to the proposed decision with reference to taking account of the public interest. Amendment No. 19 inserts a new section that takes account of public participation, but it is substantially weaker than what is contained in the Bill. We welcome and support amendment No. 22 as it is a positive measure.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne In essence, rehabilitation requires planning; therefore, the Aarhus Convention applies automatically. Section 137 is being removed on the advice of the Attorney General following the insertion of the new section which is comprehensive in dealing with rehabilitation plans.

  Amendment put and declared carried.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I move amendment No. 18:

In page 76, to delete lines 4 to 40, and in page 77, to delete lines 1 to 38 and substitute the following:

“Public participation in preparation and revision of rehabilitation plan

138. (1) Where the rehabilitation authority proposes to prepare or, as the case may be, revise a rehabilitation plan it shall give public notice in accordance with this section and shall consider submissions in accordance with subsection (3).

(2) The rehabilitation authority shall, for the purposes of subsection (1)
(a) deposit in the offices of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and in one or more places to which members of the public have access that are in the vicinity of the area subject to the plan or revised plan, a map showing the boundaries of that area, together with a draft of the plan and the information on which the draft is based, and

(b) publish on the website of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in a national newspaper and in at least one newspaper circulating in the vicinity of that area a notice stating that—
(i) the rehabilitation authority proposes to prepare or, as the case may be, revise the rehabilitation plan,

(ii) a map showing the boundaries of the area subject to the plan, together with a draft of the plan and the information on which the draft is based may be viewed at the places at which they have been deposited in accordance with paragraph (a), and

(iii) the public may send submissions that meet the requirements of subsection (3) to the rehabilitation authority at an address specified in the notice.
(3) The rehabilitation authority shall consider any submissions that—
(a) are in writing and have been delivered to the address specified in the notice under subsection (2)(b) within 21 days after the date of publication of the notice, and

(b) are relevant to the proposed plan.”.

  Amendment put and declared carried.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I move amendment No. 19:

In page 78, to delete lines 1 to 13 and substitute the following:

“Outcome of public participation on rehabilitation plan

139. (1) Where public participation has taken place in accordance with section 137* the rehabilitation authority shall—
(a) take due account of the outcome of the public participation in its preparation or, as the case may be, revision, of the rehabilitation plan, and

(b) make a copy of the plan or revised plan available to the public at the offices of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and on the Department’s website.
(2) The procedure for seeking judicial review of the preparation or revision of a rehabilitation plan and the costs of any such judicial review are governed by Part 2 of the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011.”.

  Amendment put and declared carried.


Last Updated: 14/09/2018 10:30:27 First Page Previous Page Page of 70 Next Page Last Page