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Over 7,000 litter fines were issued around the country last year

Dublin City Council issued the most fines at 1465.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

OVER 7,400 LITTER fines were issued nationwide in 2017 for littering offences including small-scale illegal dumping, according the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Under the Litter Pollutions Acts, councils can issue fines or take action against people illegally dumping in their area.

Dublin City Council issued the most fines – 1465 – while Cork City Council was second, issuing 646 fines in 2017. 

By comparison, Sligo County Council issued 47 fines.

‘Door-to-door investigations’ 

In recent years, local authorities have trialed initiatives to reduce – or punish – littering and illegal dumping. 

Dublin City Council has trialed several tactics like ‘naming and shaming’ through the use of CCTV images. 

According to a spokesperson, the council carries out inspections and investigations of illegally dumped material on an ongoing basis throughout the city.

“CCTV is used to monitor areas where dumping is prevalent and to deter dumping at sites such as bring centres and bottle bank locations,” the council has said.

Door-to-door investigations are also carried out by the council, who says it engages with a number of community groups to tackle illegal dumping and littering. 

In Wicklow, night vision CCTV have been set up to deal with fly tipping. 

During the summer, it was announced that Sligo County Council planned a pilot project to track the source of illegal dumping through the use of Eircodes.

A spokesperson for Cork County Council has said that the council “takes every opportunity to inspect and gather evidence” to identify people who litter. 

Illegal dumping, they added, ranges from incidents in which less than a refuse bag of household waste is deposited to large-scale fly-tipping of household contents, commercial and builder(s) waste, they added. 

‘Serious ongoing concern’

While local authorities try to counter littering across the country, the courts remain a popular options to tackle illegal dumping. 

Longford County Council, which issued 165 litter fines in 2017, has successfully prosecuted 11 people for illegal dumping this year with four cases still ongoing. 

In 2018, Cork City Council had 71 litter fine cases heard in the District Court, one of which was unsuccessful. 

Offaly County Council, which issued 43 fines in 2017, initiated 17 prosecutions for illegal dumping this year. 

Kildare County Council, which issued 408 litter fines in 2017, issued 458 litter fines in 2018. Sixty-five cases were referred for court action including 12 successful prosecutions.

“Regrettably, the council has a serious ongoing concern regarding illegal dumping,” a spokesperson has said. 

Fines for illegal dumping can vary in court with a maximum fine €4,000.

On average, 800 reports are received every year by Kildare County Council and, so far this year, street cleaning has cost the council €2,085,000 while €710,000 was spent cleaning up after illegal dumping. 

Dublin City Council initiated 322 legal actions against people illegally dumping in 2017 and has taken 95 legal actions this year. 

The cost of removing and disposing of illegally dumped waste was estimated to be €1.1m in 2017 in Dublin. The council is expected to spend the same in 2018. 

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