Nature protection has been identified as one of the key challenges facing Ireland in a major new report on the state of the country’s environment released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Dublin today.
Launched by The Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, T.D., the EPA’s fifth ‘State of the Environment Report’, Ireland’s Environment 2012: An Assessment is the most comprehensive evidence based assessment of the environment conducted in Ireland.
Produced every four years the State of the Environment report collates data from the EPA and other bodies to deliver a snapshot spanning all key aspects of Ireland’s environment in a single document.
“The EPA ‘State of the Environment Reports’ are important milestones for Ireland. They provide a snapshot of our environment at a point in time as well as tracking trends and changes in the environment,” said Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, speaking at the launch.
“Ireland’s Environment, An Assessment, 2012 shows that in some areas, such as waste management and air quality, we are generally doing well. But it also shows that in other areas, such as nature protection, water quality and climate change we have major challenges to meet and critical decisions to take to protect this most precious resource.”
“A number of things stand out,” Ms Burke continued: “the growing body of tangible evidence that the quality of our environment impacts on our health and our wellbeing; and the equally compelling evidence that our future economic growth depends on the state of our environment. This is not about putting one or the other first, our environment or our economy. It is about making the right choices; it’s about recognising the imperative for each one of us – in our homes, in our businesses and at a policy level – to take every action we can to be more sustainable.”
The four main challenges outlined in the report are:
- Valuing and protecting our natural environment, in particular water and nature protection
- Building a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy
- Implementing environmental legislation
- Putting the environment at the centre of our decision-making
- From a nature protection perspective the report reveals that in Ireland, only 7% of habitats and 39% of species that are listed under the EU Habitats Directive are considered to be in a favourable state, but that full implementation of the National Biodiversity Plan (2011– 2016) will help protection of biodiversity for future generations.
- You can read the full report below, or download Ireland’s Environment 2012: An Assessment from the new EPA website which will provide the public and decision-makers with regularly updated information on key environmental indicators.