Traditionally, Ireland’s approach to waste management was to dispose of waste by burying it in the ground. Facilities were often referred to as ‘town dumps’. Little or no consideration was given to the possible environmental impact of these facilities, or indeed, the implications for human health, for example the contamination of groundwater.
Today’s waste facilities are licensed engineered landfills. They operate under stringent environmental standards set out under licence, designed to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.
These standards also set out the requirements for the aftercare and remediation works needed when a landfill reaches the end of its life. In the context of an internationally accepted approach to waste management, the number of high grade facilities should be minimised and used only for waste that cannot be prevented, reused, recycled or used in a waste-to-energy plant (reflecting the waste hierarchy).
The Landfill Remediation Grant Scheme was established in 2006, in order to deal with the specific issue of the remediation of closed, licensed, local authority-operated landfills, and in recognition of the fact that local authorities would not have sufficient resources to fund the full cost of this remediation..