​​Waste management planning, including infrastructure provision, is the responsibility of local authorities under Part II of the Waste Management Act, 1996. The Department is precluded under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act, 1996 from the exercise of any power or control in relation to the performance by a local authority, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it under the Act.

In November 2016 an emergency situation arose where there was insufficient capacity to dispose of residual waste. To prevent or limit potential environmental pollution, both Meath and Wicklow County Councils activated the available landfill capacity in Knockharley and Ballynagran under Section 56 of the Waste Management Act 1996 for the period to end-December 2016. Dublin City Council, as Lead Authority for the Eastern and Midlands Waste Management Planning Region, also invoked this legislative provision, which gives a local authority broad powers to take measures in order to prevent or limit environmental pollution.

The Department is working with the three Regional Waste Management Planning Lead Authorities and other regulatory bodies to ensure such emergency measures are not required going forward.