The Environment Department is responsible for protecting and improving the natural and man-made environment of County Leitrim. This Department must ensure that the principles of sustainable development are implemented by the promoters of public and private development projects in the County. The Environment Department’s responsibilities fall into two broad categories:
(a) Waste Management. The control and management of waste is dictated by 2 broad principles :
1. The E.U. Waste Management Hierarchy-whereby the amount of waste generated in the first place should be minimised, waste should then be re-used as much as possible, re-cycled if it can't be reused, if re-cycling is not possible energy should be extracted from it and finally the residue only should be landfilled.
2. The Polluter Pays -those who generate waste would pay for it's proper disposal, so charges would relate to both quantity generated and the complexity of the waste to be disposed.
Leitrim County Council is committed to promoting responsible waste management in County Leitrim. In 2001 all local authorities in the province adopted the Connaught Waste Management Plan. The Plan provides a blueprint for waste management in Connaught and Leitrim County Council is fully committed to playing its part to ensure its successful implementation. The Plan was reviewed in 2006 and the Connaught Waste Management Plan 2006 - 2011 can by viewed by clicking on Connaught Waste Management Plan .
(b) Surface Water and General Environmental Protection :
The protection of the environment is governed by various National and E.U. legislation. The E.C. Water Framework Directive which came into force on 22nd December 2000 is regarded as the most important piece of European water legislation. The Directive provides for a new, strengthened system for the protection and improvement of water quality and dependent ecosystems based on distinct catchments/districts. There are three such River Basin Management Districts in County Leitrim.