EPA should become Waste Regulator
Labour spokesperson on the Environment Sean Sherlock TD, has said that the Environmental Protection Agency should become a strong and independent national regulator of the municipal waste sector. The Labour Party will table an amendment in the Dáil tonight, calling for this, along with the introduction of a waiver scheme for low income households, competition for the market, protections for the terms and conditions of those working in the sector, and a roadmap for restoring responsibility for bin collection to local authorities.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“The Labour Party believes that the proposed Government changes should be indefinitely postponed until robust legislation is introduced to provide the Environment Protection Agency with the powers to become a strong and independent national waste regulator, rather than creating from scratch a new regulatory agency.
“We believe that a regulator should have the power to impose effective competition for the market, with fair and transparent pricing, by requiring tenders for the collection of all waste throughout a local area, without either cherry-picking the lucrative districts only or the pointless nuisance caused by numerous companies trawling for business in the same district
“There should be a public service obligation on any waste collection tender to provide a waiver scheme for low income households.
“We are also deeply concerned that the current model of competition in the market is leading to a race to the bottom on terms and conditions of employment in the sector, and we believe that as a condition of tendering, companies should be required to engage in collective bargaining with their staff.
“The Labour Party also believes that over time, a roadmap should be developed to transfer responsibility for waste collection to local authorities, requiring as a first step that local authorities bid for contracts in each area as the license expires, and the establishment of a timeline for bringing these services back within local authority control.”