2020 Vision - Protecting and Improving Ireland's Environment

Date released: Apr 30 2007

‘Limiting and Adapting to Climate Change’, ‘Protecting our Water Resources’ and ‘Integration and Enforcement’ are three of the six key goals identified by the Environmental Protection Agency in its most recent strategy released today. The strategy is entitled “2020 Vision: Protecting and Improving Ireland’s Environment”.

Speaking at the launch Dr Mary Kelly, EPA Director-General said,
“Strategic planning is a vital exercise for every organisation. The Environmental Protection Agency has set out a vision for Ireland’s environment to the year 2020 and has identified clearly what must happen for that vision to become reality.  We have also specified what the EPA must do in the shorter term, between now and 2010, to ensure that the longer-term vision will be fulfilled. 

“The environmental goals set out in the strategy reflect the key issues for environmental protection.  ‘Clean Air’, ‘Protected Water Resources’ and ‘Protected Soil and Biodiversity’ are fundamental rights of all Irish citizens.  ‘Limiting and Adapting to Climate Change’, ‘Sustainable Use of Resources’ and ‘Integration and Enforcement’ are key actions that need to be pursued vigorously to ensure a sustainable society.”

Dr Kelly continued, “In framing these goals, we consulted with many people and organisations, including the public.  The vast majority of those who sent in comments as part of the consultation process agreed with and endorsed the six goals we have set out today.  The number and quantity of responses we received show that the people of Ireland continue to view the environment as one of their top priorities.

”The goals we have selected will inform our organisational strategy over the coming years; everything we do will be moving towards achieving them.  An implementation plan with measurable outcomes has been developed alongside the strategy.

“In developing this strategy we are very conscious that the EPA is one of many players who must act together to achieve these environmental goals.  We want to engage individuals and other organisations in this important work. 

“The focus of this strategy is strongly on the external environment and on how the Environmental Protection Agency can continue to improve the delivery of positive environmental outcomes.  We want to build on our scientific expertise by acting as a proactive, forceful environmental champion with a key focus on environmental management.  This focus is moving us beyond identification of environmental issues towards the active resolution of the root causes.”

Mary Kelly concluded, “The last strategy the EPA developed had identified enforcement as a key issue and led to the establishment of the Office of Environmental Enforcement within the EPA.   The Office has proved very successful in improving the level of enforcement of environmental legislation and will build on this success in the future. The EPA will continue to be flexible in taking on new responsibilities as they emerge, adaptable when facing up to difficult challenges and efficient in delivering results.”

2020 Vision: Protecting and Improving Ireland’s Environment 


Notes to the Editor:

1. Environmental Goals:
The EPA strategy identifies the following six environmental goals to be achieved by 2020:

1. Limiting and adapting to Climate Change
Ireland will achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and will be prepared for the unavoidable impact of climate change

2. Clean air
Our air will be healthy and clean.  Ireland’s emissions to the atmosphere will meet all international and national targets.

3. Protected water resources
Our surface water and groundwater will not be depleted and will be of excellent quality, meeting all national and international standards.

4. Protected soil and biodiversity
The soil of Ireland will be protected from contamination and loss and will support dependent plants and animals.  Our biodiversity will be protected and managed for future generations to enjoy.

5. Sustainable use of resources
The overall goal is a more efficient use of resources (water, energy and materials).  Waste will be prevented and minimised, with the balance safely collected, recycled or recovered.  Final disposal will be completed in a way that does not harm the environment.

6. Integration and Enforcement
Environmental considerations will be at the heart of policy-making and decision-making.  Responsible environmental behaviour will be the norm across all sectors of society and those who flout environmental laws will be held to account.

2. Structure of the document
The strategy is in three parts:

Section 1 sets out a medium-term vision for the natural environment in the six key goal areas.
Section 2 contains a shorter-term strategy for the EPA in 2007-2010.
Section 3 details the organisational development that will deliver a high-performance EPA in 2007-2010.

3. Consultation
The EPA conducted a public consultation on the draft strategy.  A list of the submissions and information on how the EPA responded to them is appended in the 2020 Vision document.