Permits, Licences, Liability
The applicant seeks certain reliefs against the respondents, requiring them to cease the holding and/or disposal and/or recovery of waste at certain lands at Knockacrin, Timahoe, Co. Wicklow, to remove all such waste from the lands and deliver same to an authorised waste disposal or recovery facility, and to remediate the lands and any leachate-contaminated waters downstream therefrom, to the standard of normal agricultural land in the area. The respondents accept that they are not the holders of a waste permit or waste licence such as would have entitled them to operate the land in question as they have done. They also accept that no such permit was applied for. The only matter in dispute really is the measures which must now be taken in order to remediate the lands. While the applicant’s proposals require the removal of all waste brought onto the lands to an authorised waste facility (such facility to be approved in advance by the Council), and for the land then to be filled and restored to the standard of normal agricultural land for the area, the respondents proposal would result in a sorting of waste. According to the judge, the solution put forward by the respondents is not one which can be reasonably regarded as providing an adequate solution to the task of removal and remediation of the lands. In accordance with the principle that ‘the polluter must pay’ it is inappropriate for the respondents to submit a proposal, especially one which does not achieve the objectives of the Waste Management Directive, and the legislation, so that they can retain as much as possible of the profits from their unauthorised and unlawful activity. The appropriate orders in this case must be made not simply against the fourth named respondent, a limited liability company which caused the pollution and the unauthorised use, but, in accordance with principles set forth by O’Sullivan J. in Wicklow County Council v. Fenton that these orders should be made against the individual directors of that company.