The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set for an increase in budget and ins expected to increase staff numbers under Government plans.

The agency, which is the central body for issuing waste licences, is also set to undergo changes which will change the way that it works.

This is according to Minister of State Ossian Smyth, who was speaking at Wednesday’s Cré Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland conference in Dublin.

Minister Smyth said that the Government will be changing the law to allow developers of projects who are applying for planning permission to also apply for a EPA waste licence at the same time.

Speed up

The move will speed up permitting the process for new composting and certain anaerobic digestion facilities.

He said that it's difficult to plan a business when they don’t have certainty on timelines, referring to the time taken to secure an EPA licence.

The Minister said they would also be changing the rules so that the EPA must deal with a licence application within a defined time frame and will be limited as to how many times they can ask for additional information.