Dáil Éireann - Volume 640 - 25 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Health and Safety Regulations.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding Ireland’s steps to comply with the Seveso Directive 2003/105/EC regarding plans to deal with accidents from chemical treatment plants. [25841/07]

  Deputy Billy Kelleher: Council Directive 96/82/EC on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances as amended by Directive 2003/105/EC, [known as the Seveso Directive], applies to all establishments where the inventory of dangerous substances exceeds specified thresholds, not just to chemical treatment plants. I am informed by the Health and Safety Authority that there are 89 such establishments notified to it. Of these, 34 are classified as “upper tier”, and as such, in accordance with the Directive, require that external emergency plans be prepared. As I understand it, only one of these 34 could be classified as a chemical treatment plant, and I am informed that an external emergency plan is in place for that.

The European Commission issued a Reasoned Opinion to Ireland on 23 October 2007, concerning the failure by Ireland to draw up external emergency plans in respect of 11 establishments, as required under Article 11 of the Seveso Directive. The authorities in Ireland responsible [992] for drawing up such external emergency plans are designated pursuant to the European Communities [Control of Major Accident Hazards] Regulations 2006, S.I. No. 74 of 2006. These include Local Authorities, an Garda Síochána and the Health Services Executive. I am informed that these designated authorities have given commitments that all outstanding external emergency plans would be in place before the end of this year.