Dáil Éireann - Volume 401 - 10 July, 1990

Written Answers. - Asbestos Waste Disposal.

169. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the ESB is stripping asbestos from decommissioned power stations; and the arrangements which have been made for the safe disposal of the asbestos waste.

171. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment the regulations which are in force in this country governing the use, handling and disposal of asbestos; and in particular the kinds of asbestos, if any, which are banned.

172. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment the arrangements which have been made in this country for the disposal of asbestos waste since 1 January, 1986; the efforts which are made by his Department to monitor and control the unauthorised dumping of asbestos; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment (Miss Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 169, 171, and 172 together.

The internationally accepted disposal method for asbestos waste is controlled landfill. Asbestos waste arising in Ireland was largely exported to the UK for disposal by landfill until the coming into operation there of the Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations, 1985. The need to make suitable arrangements for the land-fill disposal of asbestos waste arising in their areas has since been emphasised to local authorities by my Department on a number of occasions.

Asbestos waste in dust or fibre form is one of the categories of toxic and dangerous waste which are subject to control under the European Communities (Toxic and Dangerous Waste) Regulations, 1982. The Regulations make the larger local authorities, County Councils, [996] County Borough Corporations and Dun Laoghaire Corporation, responsible for all aspects of the planning, organisation and supervision of toxic and dangerous waste disposal in their areas.

The Regulations are complemented by the European Communities (Asbestos Waste) Regulations, 1990 which came into operation on 1 March, 1990 and which include provisions governing the deposit of such waste. The latter regulations apply to the following six types of asbestos: crocidolite (blue asbestos), actinolite, anthophyllite, chrysolite (white asbestos), anosite (brown asbestos), tremolite.

The implementation of both sets of regulations is a matter for the local authorities and my Department is not directly concerned in monitoring and control aspects.

Regulations governing the use and landfillings of asbestos in the work place are a matter for the Department of Labour.

I am aware that the decommissioning of some power stations has given rise to asbestos waste. The disposal of this waste is primarily a matter for the ESB subject to the oversight of the local authority in whose area the waste occurs.

It is envisaged that the environmental protection agency will have a role in the implementation of the regulations in waste management.