Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

VRA meets regulators on new environmental legislation

Pictured after the meeting: Sean Hegarty, VRA, Kirsty Nolan, EPA, Dr. Ian Marnane, EPA, Gary McGuinn, DECLG, John Moran, VRA, Noel Grant, VRA.

Following on from the introduction of new environmental regulations for the accident repair industry in January, representatives from the Vehicle Repairers Association have met with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Ennironment, Culture and Local Government  (DECLG) to discuss implementation and policing concerns.

Changes featured in the up-dated regulations include;

• Heavier fines for non compliance

• Changes to inspection and auditing designed to encourage competition

• Certificates of compliance issued for a longer three year period.

• Additional powers of inspection and confiscation in regard to non compliant product sold motor factors and paint suppliers.

Concerns had been raised by some in the industry about implementing and enforcing the new regulations and this meeting was called to discuss these matters.

At the constructive meeting held in Tullamore, the changes to the regulations were discussed and the EPA and DECLG representatives outlined their plans for enforcement.  This includes additional powers for local council inspectors, a new enforcement regime and heavier fines for non compliant repairers. It was also heard how the EPA now had additional powers to clamp down on suppliers of non-compliant product and that they would be contacting motor factors and paint suppliers to remind them of their legal obligations in regard to non-compliant paints.

Speaking on behalf of DECLG, Gary McGuinn indicated that work was continuing on additional legislation to introduce fix payment notices for repairers operating illegally and that this should be resolved soon.
The representatives of DECLG and the EPA also said they would be engaging with the Irish Insurance Federation and individual insurance companies to secure agreement that in future insurance repair work would only be carried out by certified repairers.

The situation with regard to approved assessors of the scheme was discussed and it was indicated that a new panel would be in place by the end of September, bring additional choice and the potential for reduced inspection costs. The EPA also said that they would be carrying out a publicity programme on the issues later in the year.

It was generally agreed at the meeting that the new regulations were a major improvement on the previous rules and that effective enforcement was now key. As the new regulations have only just been introduced, tougher policing of the regulations may take a number of months before it can be put in place. In the meantime the VRA will continue to liaise with the EPA and DECLG to bring about equitable enforcement of the regulations for the good of compliant operators in the industry.