Country
Ireland
Sources
InforMEA
Tagging
Licences, Precaution, Air pollution
Abstract
According to Case C-121/03 Commission v. Spain, pig slurry provided by the farmer to local farms for fertiliser was not waste. The pig farmer did not intend to discard it. But there are significant differences between the National Courts and the Community on the definition of waste, and in the present case the High Court of Ireland has taken a more conservative view of the definition of waste compared to their ECJ counterparts. Donal Brady was the owner of an intensive pig farm in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. The farm contained approximately 10,000 pigs and obviously, the disposal of the resultant 30,000 M3 of effluent each year was a major cause of concern for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Brady had agreed with neighbouring farms to allow the local farmers to use the pig slurry as a fertiliser on their lands. He received a licence in March 1998 from the EPA which required him to monitor and control the use of pig slurry on these neighbouring farms. In appealing the licence to the Irish High Court, one of his arguments was that the pig slurry should be deemed to be a form of organic fertiliser and not, in fact, waste. The Court found that the slurry was indeed waste and stated that it is impossible to hold that the pig slurry being produced by the applicant in industrial quantities is not waste within the meaning of Article 1 of Council Directive 75/442/EEC as amended by Council Directive 91/156/EEC. It ruled that the sale or gift to other farmers of this material constitutes the disposal of waste within the meaning of s. 3 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 as amended and that it is an emission. The applicant thus requires a licence from the respondent Justice Charleton held that; 1) The fact that special precautions have to be taken when pig slurry is used as a fertiliser. This should mean that the substance requires to be discarded 2) The reuse was not certain or lawful 3) That regulations (for good agricultural practice) are required for it to be reused.