Court penalties for illegal dumping too lenient say Kildare county councillors

Council should return to the waste business say some

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

Court penalties for illegal dumping too lenient say Kildare county councillors

File Photo

Kildare County Council investigated 1,937 cases of illegal dumping and issued 508 fines last year, but councillors have criticised court penalties and  want higher penalties.

At its January 28 meeting Athy area councillor, Brian Dooley, proposed  that the council use more CCTV in known black spots for illegal dumping and also that lobby for higher penalties and  prison sentences.

The council has agreed to petition the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

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Senior council executive, Liam Dunne said the maximum penalty under litter enforcement is €4,000.

Cllr Dooley there is an escalating dumping problem.

He said in Australia you can be fined up to A$62,500 dollars and be jailed for a second offence.

Cllr Dooley was critical of a recent court judgement on illegal dumping and  said that allowing someone to pay a fine in installments is “completely wrong.”

He suggested a scheme be put in place where refunds be given for returning recyclable material. He said he was told by one man that over three days at a recent Electric Picnic concert, the man, got €2,000 for collecting returning such goods.

Cllr Mark Wall said fines are not enough.

“The countryside is under attack,” he said.

He said the council had 600 fines in 2017 but only 508 last year.

Cllr Ivan Keatley said they need “stiffer sanctions” and that judges allowing flexibility was only increasing the problem.

Cllr Mark Stafford said that caravans loaded with rubbish were set alight in Newbridge and residents took it off the road.

Cllr Padraig McEvoy said he was not sure this won’t be a sustained problem into the future.

Cllr Brendan Young said CCTV and traffic wardens were like King Canute trying to holding the waters back.

“The cause is the privatisation of the waste collection.”

He said deposits might help and German towns did what Cllr Dooley described as  happening at Electric Picnic.

Cllr Reada Cronin said the council should be going back into the waste business.

Director of Services, Joe Boland, said the council spent €3 million on environment but the key was enforcement. He said CCTV has a role but is not a panacea for all ills.

“The problem is getting worse,” he added.

Mr Dunne said that in order to deal with the scale of dumping in the county the council has further increased its staffing resources with seven community wardens and two environmental overseers now in place.

He said that legally they could not name and shame offenders who were fined.

Mr Dunne said  CCTV is used where there are ongoing issues of illegal dumping but he noted it was intended for vehicle registration identification.

He said the council used  both fixed and mobile cameras and that the use of fixed CCTV cameras yielded 52 fines in 2017 and 119 in 2018.

He also said the Kildare County Council is arranging, on a pilot basis, a meeting with all stakeholders in the Athy Municipal District to consider best practice going forward.

He said from March coming, under new byelaws, the council will have be able to ask households and commercial customers to provide evidence of their kerbside collection (or having an alternative service for the disposal of their refuse e. g. direct to a civic amenity site, etc).”

He said there were many anti litter schemes in the council

Mr Dunne said the public can help by reporting any incidents of litter.

The council's Litter Report Freephone number is 1800 243 143.