The documented impact of landfills include:
Odour, dust, visual, noise, traffic, vermin, effects on wildlife habitats and on watercourses, potential pollution to water, soil and atmosphere, methane generation – a greenhouse gas etc. (see Changing our Ways & EPA Docs)
Mitigation would normally refer to projects that help a community to avoid or to reduce the degree, extent, frequency, magnitude or duration of the impacts and, if possible, to remedy these impacts.
Compensation is not, and is different to, mitigation.
Compensation is, in essence, atonement for the adverse impacts.
In the hierarchy of environmental remedies compensation is ranked far lower than mitigation.
There is no mention whatsoever of compensation in the Planning Conditions.
Until such time as there is a determination that the adverse impact of the landfill facility has permanently ceased there will be an onus on the local authority to reserve the moneys, contributed by the developer, for projects that mitigate this impact – all the more urgent if the validity of the operators licence and the adequacy of the bond appear uncertain.
Given that the regulatory authorities perceive an environmental risk period extending to at least thirty years following the closure of the facility it would appear to be nothing less than prudent that funds not used for mitigation in one year should be carried forward to the next until either the fund is exhausted or until there is a determination that the risk of adverse impact has permanently ceased.
The authority, if any, to identify projects for purposes other than for mitigation should be presented and made clear.
There are specific and very detailed provisions relating to compensation in the Planning Acts.
These, in the main, refer to protected structures, and the reduction in values as a result of refusal of planning permissions or the creation of public rights of way. There are also certain other provisions that exclude the payment of compensation in respect of the imposition of certain conditions, on the granting of permission to develop land.
Had the Oireachtas wished to enact specific provisions in relation to compensation for particular adverse impacts arising from the activities within particular types of infrastructure they would have done so.