The Environmental Protection Agency has said local authorities need to press ahead and consolidate from 31 authorities to three regional waste enforcement teams, so that serious criminal offenders can been dealt with.

The EPA and 31 local authorities are the principal regulators of the environment.

The agency, which oversees regulations to protect the environment, published its report today 'Focus of Environment Enforcement in Ireland 2009-2012'.

The report reveals it brought nine company directors before the courts for breach of EPA standards, as well as experiencing a reduction in odour complaints, but said the expertise of local authorities needed to be harnessed to yield more effective outcomes.

Each year the EPA carries out 12,000 enforcement actions; 70% relating to waste, 9% to waste water, 10% to agriculture, 6% relating to air, and 5% relating to noise.

It initiates an average of 900 court prosecution proceedings each year.