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Scale of Remediation
The landlord and South Dublin County Council differed in their views as to how the site should be remediated. The landlord favoured a remedy that involved leaving the waste on the site, but preventing pollution, while South Dublin County Council favoured the more costly remedy of removing waste from the site.
Judge Clarke pointed to previous court judgements which suggest that the remedial solution must place the least burden on the polluter but must also be appropriate so that there is no longer a risk of environmental pollution. He stated that "the minimum or cheapest remediation measures consistent with these overall requirements seems to be what is mandated by" the waste management acts.
Judge Clarke held that the so-called in situ remedy proposed by Ronan would be sufficient to eliminate any risk of environmental pollution at the site and it would be an “appropriate and proportionate” requirement for a breach of the waste management legislation.
Judge Clarke reached this conclusion on the basis of the environmental expert for South Dublin County Council’s view that, while Ronan’s proposal was not strictly in accordance with the EPA’s code of practice (which requires that all waste is removed from an illegal landfill), it would remediate the site and would eliminate the risk to both humans and the environment. However, Judge Clarke criticised the 36 month remediation period proposed by Ronan because it did not reflect the fact that there had been a significant breach of the law that needs to be addressed in a short timeframe. He then ordered that the remedy must be completed by the end of 2012.
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