Environmental Outcomes from Licence Enforcement – Phase 1

Environmental Outcomes from Licence Enforcement – Phase 1

Researchers: Dr. Bernadette Power (Principal Investigator), Dr. Celine McInerney (Co- Principal Investigator), Dr. John Eakins (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Ellen O’ Connor

Advisors: Dr. Stig Hellebust and Dr. Timothy Sullivan

Funding Body: Environmental Protection Agency

Period: July 2018 - Jan 2019

Project Description

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been regulating large industries since 1994 and large waste facilities since 1996. The Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) was established in 2003. It is an office within the EPA dedicated to the implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation in Ireland. Large industries and waste facilities are licensed under a mix of Industrial Emissions (IE) licences and IPC or waste licences. The latest EPA compliance reporting for 2018 is available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/enforcement/

The project will investigate the potential of moving beyond compliance to a performance based system that recognises positive and responsible behaviour. Environmental performance indicators capture the actions of a company to reduce its environmental impacts.  Environmental performance indicators are composite scores built up from weighted core metrics. There are currently no metrics in place to measure the environmental outcomes/impact from EPA licensing and enforcement activities. 

There is an international move to environmental performance-based architecture that encourages and rewards responsible behaviour. The EPA have a world-class data-collection and recording system in place. A performance based system adds value to this data and provides insights for citizens, policymakers and investors beyond compliance. 


Objectives & Expected Outputs:

This project will identify potential methodologies for using environmental metrics to strengthen the impact of EPA licensing, enforcement and monitoring data. The outputs are;

  • A systematic literature review.
  • A critical evaluation of case studies from other jurisdictions
  • An interim project report
  • Proposed methodology for next steps


Contact:               Dr. Bernadette Power


                            353 (0) 21 4902986

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork