Question No. 672
Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:
To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:
Tuesday, 20th October, 2015
Ref No: 35961/15
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)
In the discussions prior to the adoption of the 2007 Tyre Regulations, the Government made clear that this was the last opportunity for the tyre industry to embrace environmental compliance and take responsibility for the waste it produces. The 2007 Tyre Regulations were focused on matching what was placed on the market with what came off the market as waste. If the required improvement did not happen, it was made clear to the tyre industry that the system would be reviewed and replaced with a full Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) model.
As part of a wider Ministerial review of producer responsibility matters, a specific module was devoted to structural and environmental effectiveness of all aspects of the current system for managing waste tyres. The results of this examination were stark. The report, published for consultation in November 2013 and in final form in April 2014, found:
- A non-compliance rate with the Tyre Regulations of 46%,
- A lack of consistent and accurate data,
- That the current system was not tracking data flows well, and
- Between 25% and 50% of waste tyres were not accounted for.
Following extensive discussions with the tyre industry, I announced my decision to establish a full PRI scheme for Tyres and Waste Tyres in Ireland on 30 January 2015. The new scheme will be operated by Repak with a registration and reporting role for the WEEE Register Society. Since my decision, significant progress has been made in discussions with the tyre industry.
Distance sellers, i.e. those placing tyres on the Irish market but located outside the State, will have exactly the same obligations as any operator based in Ireland so the suggestion that operators based outside the jurisdiction will have a competitive advantage over their Irish counterparts is unfounded. The distance seller approach has been very successfully used under existing arrangements for distance sellers of electrical and electronic equipment.
The 300% + increase in the cost of tyre disposal referred to in the Question, is a suggestion being circulated by elements within the tyre industry, but is also unfounded. The model that I am proposing will formalise a charge that tyre retailers already apply. The fact is that the fundamental pillars of any successful PRI structure elsewhere in the EU are a robust financial model, supported by an adequate visible Environmental Management Charge (vEMC). This approach ensures that waste tyres are fully accounted for and properly treated without public funds being called on to remove the blight of illegal stockpiles across the country. Members of the public currently pay an environmental charge when purchasing new tyres but often their contribution is not being used for the intended purpose and waste tyres leak from the system, often ending up stockpiled illegally and causing a blight on our environment.
Just at the point where discussions on the financial model and the level of the vEMC were about to commence, the Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) withdrew from the Tyres Working Group. Despite their withdrawal, and the earlier withdrawal of ITWRA, my Department will continue to work on the introduction of a full PRI scheme. Both the ITIA and the ITWRA continue to receive all Tyres Working Group related correspondence and I have urged them on several occasions to re-join the process and re-engage. It is a matter for both organisations to accept this invitation and I would again appeal to both organisations to embrace the opportunity to influence the shape of the new structures, particularly in relation to those key issues around funding and structure