Human Safety Risk from Tyre Stockpiling increases during the Halloween Period

30th October 2014
Press Release

The run up to the Halloween bonfire period creates a situation of mounting urgency in addressing the human safety, and environmental risk of the current inadequately managed 2007 Department of Environment, Community and Local Government regulations for recycling of worn tyres, which came into force in 2009. In response to the 2007 Regulations, the motor and tyre industry set up TRACS (The Tyre Recovery Activity Compliance Scheme) which came into operation in January 2008. This is a voluntary compliance scheme for tyre industry operators to monitor the movement of tyres within the industry and promote legitimate reuse and recycling http://www.tracsireland.ie/about.

In May 2010 a major Prime Time documentary exposed the large scale failure of control of tyre storage and disposal citing a large number of cases across the country. The issues highlighted were of unauthorised stockpiling and motor and tyre service operators dumping tyres – these have not been resolved.

The level of stockpiling and burning of tyres for Halloween bonfires is increasing, with consequent human safety risk as well as health and environmental damage, and threat to property. It is obvious that operators within the tyre and motor service industry are allowing significant levels of tyres to be hived off which are being stockpiled for burning. Information from the north-side of central Dublin is that motor service yards are actively giving used tyres to local children, or leaving tyres in insecure locations and passively colluding in their removal.

Already before the Halloween period two dangerous incidents have occurred where the burning of stockpiled tyres in Dublin resulted in two serious treats to human life and buildings in the north inner city.

Earlier this year Department of the Environment Community and Local Government carried out a public consultation on producer responsibility. Industry self regulation has not worked in this case. The replacement of the 2007 Guidelines is needed with an effective legal regime, administered independently of the industry, to ensure that used tyres are stored safely on secure sites with planning and fire safety compliance, and recycled appropriately.

The financial liability for monitoring and enforcement needs to be borne by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) and Irish Tyre Industry Association. This would include liability of clean up and remediation cost (e.g. where fires or unauthorised stockpiles occur).

However immediate action is needed to address the threat to human life and property in the run up to the Halloween period. A targeted approach is required in the main Irish urban areas to remove tyres stockpiles in the locations which create the greatest risk and transport to authorised recycling facilities. This requires co-ordinated action by Department of Environment Community and Local Government, the Garda, Local Authorities, with the clean up and transport cost borne by the motor and tyre services industry.

An Taisce has raised these concerns with the Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, the Acting Garda Commissioners, the main urban local authorities and the motor and tyre industry.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.ie