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Written Answers - Environmental Regulations

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 142.  Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the certificates required by local authorities for dry cleaning businesses are only available from one company (details supplied) who have increased their prices from €300 to €475 within one year; the reason for such an increase, which is putting struggling small businesses under increased pressure; if he will consider making this a service provided through the local authorities, without a cost incurred by the business. [19621/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan Dry cleaners are regulated by the Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Organic Solvents Regulations 2002, and are required to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations and hold a certificate of compliance from their local authority to this effect. The certificate of compliance must be renewed annually.

In order to obtain a certificate of compliance, a dry cleaning operator must first arrange for their premises to be inspected by an accredited inspection contractor (AIC) who will then prepare a report on the compliance or otherwise of the premises with the Regulations. The AIC must be accredited by the Irish National Accreditation Board to ISO 17020, an internationally recognised standard for the competence of inspection bodies. The fee charged for carrying out an inspection is not specified by the Regulations and is a matter for the AIC.

When the Regulations were first given effect in 2002, there were three companies operating in the State that were accredited to ISO 17020. My Department is aware that two of these companies have since withdrawn from the market and that there is now only one AIC remaining. As this is not considered to be a sustainable situation, my Department is preparing new draft Regulations, in consultation with the relevant agencies and local authorities, that will support increased competition in the inspection market with the aim of reducing costs. It is envisaged that changes arising to the current inspection requirements would apply from 1 January 2013.

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