Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
  • Publication
    An investigation into waste taxes and charges
    (University College Dublin. Department of Planning and Environmental Policy, 2004-07)
    This paper reviews the potential for problems regarding public acceptability of environmental taxes with: a review of waste charges literature; a review of the literature on environmental attitudes; and a case study - the municipal waste charge protests in Ireland in 2003 and 2004. These public protests against new waste charges demonstrate the necessity for good advertisement and public relations when introducing a new tax. Rather than explain the polluter pays principle and simultaneously providing a good selection of options for recycling and composting, some municipalities jumped straight into the new tax (for a service that had originally been free of charge and covered by general taxes). Outbreaks of public revolt occurred, with people blockading the streets and refusing to let the collection trucks down their road. We seek to identify the reasons why there was so much resistance to this charge and examine the lessons for the introduction of other environmental taxes and charges in the future. The literature on the various types of municipal waste charge is discussed with a view to seeing if pay-by-weight tends to be more politically acceptable as there is a real incentive and control over the amount of waste collected for landfill or incinerator. The key figures in the Irish waste charge revolts were interviewed in an attempt to gain insights into their reasoning about the acceptability failure of the charge and design measures that could have been taken to avoid this outcome. Reasons for the revolt included: that protesters missed the point of local authorities being recently made responsible for covering the costs of municipal waste (rather than central government); they did not see the polluter-pays principle as related to the public; they felt the government was attempting to double-tax them; they were worried that privatisation meant that the charges could be free to rise exponentially in the future. The findings of the study are analysed to see what, if any, international lessons can be learned from the problems with public acceptance of this environmental charge. The following should be in place to encourage the success of new public taxes and charges: Good alternatives for the taxed behaviour; justification for the tax; terminology of the tax; trust in government; administrative simplicity; gradual introduction; willingness to fine-tune and adapt; community group leader support; and professional marketing and advertising schemes.
  • Publication
    The origin and significance of mushroom stones in lowland karst regions
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2002) ;
    'Mushroom stones', or 'wave stones', are limestone erratics or protruding bedrock that shows signs of erosion or dissolution suggestive of prolonged exposure to standing water. Fifty-three stones in the central lowlands of Ireland were recorded in a systematic fashion, with accurate lip-height measurements taken for more than half the stones using GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment. The heights of their erosional lips are discussed with reference to estimated pre-bog water tables, lake fluctuations and other possible explanations for this phenomenon. The results suggest that the erosion of the stones now found in the bogs of County Offaly cannot be attributed to erosion by a single large lake as previously speculated, whereas the notching of stones in and around wetlands and lakes in Roscommon and Clare is likely to be due largely to flooding and winter water levels.
  • Publication
    Towards planning recommendations to encourage the growth of farmers markets as an element of revitalising rural areas
    (University College Dublin. Department of Planning and Environmental Policy, 2005-03) ;
    In theory, farmers’ markets can provide a win-win situation in terms of revitalising rural areas, increasing viability of small and part-time farms, re-connecting the consumer with the source of food, providing good quality food at reasonable cost, adding complexity to the social fabric of the market town and increasing numbers of shoppers. This paper reviews the white and grey literature on the economic, social and environmental benefits of farmers’ markets. However, there remain a large number of problems in relation to establishing and maintaining farmers’ market. They range from issues with traditional market rights to a lack of support from local authorities and agricultural groups. This paper uses an Irish case study based on interviews and literature to analyse these obstacles from a planning point of view. Other issues that are examined include problems with finding suitable locations, management and promotion issues, insurance, health and hygiene, and the importance of farmers’ markets in the promotion of local agriculture. Recommendations are made for the future planning and management of farmers’ markets in Ireland.
  • Publication
    The use and regulation of environmental claims as a means for promoting sustainable consumption in Ireland : final report
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2007) ; ;
    This study consists of an initial evaluation of the use and regulation of [environmental] claims in Ireland, in order to identify how they may be most effectively used to promote sustainable consumption. This final Report has been prepared as part of the Environmental Research Technological Development and Innovation Programme under the Productive Sector Operational Programme 2000–2006.
  • Publication
    Greenhouse gas abatement costs and market based instruments
    (University College Dublin. Department of Planning and Environmental Policy, 2004-04) ;
    For policy intervention to be effective, we need to know where such intervention is likely to have most effect. There is literature emerging on this from a variety of sources. This paper synthesises some of this information as well as looking at the literature on policy interaction in seeking the least cost abatement options. The first section assesses the latest European Commission report which examines a least-cost route for the EU Member States, and then examines the latest IPCC Mitigation report and work done by Ellerman and Decaux (1998) in examining marginal abatement curves. The abatement cost analyses that have been undertaken do provide broad guidelines as to where the least cost (more economically efficient) opportunities for abatement lie, and this is a crucial step in ensuring that economic resources are not wasted. Interestingly, abatement of the non CO2 gasses, notably methane and nitrous oxide, emerge in many studies as relatively low cost options.
  • Publication
    Environmental indicators for the urban environment : a literature review
    (University College Dublin. School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, 2000) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
    A vast body of literature exists on the genesis and evolution of environmental indicators of all varieties. This document attempts to track the somewhat complicated progress of urban environmental indicators, where they are in usage and to what avail. It also emphasises the search to narrow down the range of 'ideal' indicators. The literature suggests that as experience and practice with indicators grows both in Ireland and world-wide the key set of urban environmental indicators can help policy makers and the public track sustainability issues more effectively. Indicators thus have a valuable role to play in the future of sustainable planning for urban areas.
  • Publication
    Environmental and wider economic implications of modifications to environmental tax reform
    (University College Dublin. School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, 2002-03) ;
    The most common definition of Environmental Tax Reform (ETR) is the use of the revenue from environmental taxes to reduce distortionary labour taxes. However, the PETRAS project has shown that there are a number of social and political impediments to implementing such reform. This paper firstly outlines some of the environmental and economic implications of environmental taxes generally. It goes on to explore three broad approaches to ETR, based on the allocation of the tax revenues, and explores the environmental and economic implications of each approach and the likelihood of political and social acceptance. Particular attention is paid to ameliorating regressive impacts and impacts on competitiveness. It is concluded that some combination of hypothecating a proportion ofrevenues to environmental projects and diverting rest to reduce labour taxes is probably the best approach in light of the results of the project. The balance should depend upon local labour market and macroeconomic conditions, the extent to which environmental projects are already funded and the extent of government failure. Funding should only provided to environmental projects if it can be shown that, in themselves, they are economically efficient. In addition, it is most important that a proportion of the funds be used to ameliorate any regressive impacts. It is also important to bear in mind that hypothecation or recycling of revenue is not the same as a tax shift, which is a reform of the entire system, so some of these approaches may take away from the integrity of ETR. The paper concludes with some of the initiatives that are likely to be necessary to facilitate social and political acceptance of this approach to ETR.
  • Publication
    A theory of the impediments to environmental tax reform
    (University College Dublin. School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, 2001-12) ;
    Environmental Tax Reform (ETR) is widely accepted to be a policy with desirable environmental, and other economic effects. The question arises then as to why its implementation has been so patchy. There is a broad literature on the economic impact of ETR, however, there have been very few research efforts devoted to understanding the roles and imperatives of the public, policy-makers, businesses and other stakeholders who are addressed by ETR. This paper examines the impediments to environmental tax reform. Focus groups were formed comprising of members of the general public and these provided a forum for detailed reactions to the ETR concept. Interviews were conducted with policy makers and key business people in an attempt to identify both the patterns of thinking behind ETR and the main obstacles to its introduction. Having presented the results, a theory of the main impediments to ETR is developed. The principal potential impediments to ETR include: mistrust of the government, implausibility of the policy, means of hypothecation, information asymmetries, the political system, the structure of government, the macroeconomic environment, the impact on competitiveness, inequity between sectors, regressivity, elasticities and the level of the tax, terminology, and the marketing of ETR.
  • Publication
    Assessing the European Union emissions trading directive
    (Asociación Española de Economía Agraria, 2003) ; ; ;
    The Emissions Trading scheme now (January 2003) in prospect in the European Union is likely to be the first trans-national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in the world. With the participation of the European Economic Area [EEA] countries and with the forthcoming EU enlargement, 30 countries could be involved in this scheme by 2012. Under European Union law, the European Commission is responsible for making proposals, which are then decided upon by the Council of Ministers - on a 'qualified majority' basis in this case - representing the 15 Member State governments, and the European Parliament. In the case of this Directive, the Commission prepared its initial proposals, which have then been scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The objective of this work is to provide an assessment of the EU Emissions Trading Directive as agreed by the Council of Ministers. The agreement was reached looking at both, the characteristics and potential of this scheme. For some of the issues, there is theory and evidence to support the case made. For others, the absence of evidence means that intuition is called upon.