Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 06 March, 2007

Written Answers. - Farm Waste Management.

Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when the scheme for disposal of plastic used in silage production and storage will be introduced in south Tipperary. [8592/07]

  Mr. Roche: From mid 2006 through to early 2007, special arrangements have been put in place by local authorities to deal with the accumulated backlog of farm plastics waste. Designated facilities were provided on a temporary, once-off basis where farmers could deposit stockpiled farm film plastic and silage wrap. These arrangements operated on a pilot basis in the first instance in counties Clare, Galway, Mayo, Offaly and Waterford during June and July of last year. More recently further collections have been taking place in Carlow, Leitrim, Longford, North Tipperary, Roscommon and Wicklow. This service was provided free to the farmer and funding to assist the local authorities is being made available from my Department through the Environment Fund to meet the costs associated with the operation of the scheme.

The collections were well supported by farmers in the eleven counties that have participated in the two pilot phases held to date. This has resulted in significant volumes of farm plastics being deposited at the designated sites for the purpose of onward transportation to dedicated reprocessing/recycling facilities. A significant finding from the initial pilot was that it is not pos[435] sible to operate collections in a large number of counties at the same time due to capacity constraints on the part of recovery operators and it is therefore necessary to roll out the scheme to other areas on a staggered basis.

In the light of this finding, announcements regarding further extensions of collections to other areas, including South Tipperary, will follow a review of the second phase of the pilot scheme.