Regulations have now been signed that will allow all local authorities to use CCTV, drones and body cams to catch people in the act leading to further prosecutions.
Despite efforts by community groups and Councillors incidents of littering and illegal dumping are being reported all over the county.
Senator Byrne has been campaigning on this issue since his entry to the Oireachtas and pointed to a survey of local Councils he conducted in 2021 that found that Ireland spends up to €100m each year dealing with illegal dumping and littering.
The Circular Economy Act 2022 made provision for the technology to be used in a way that complies with data protection regulations but a delay by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) in developing local codes meant that it is only now that the measures can be enforced.
Senator Byrne has called for additional resourcing for local authorities to deploy the technology and to upskill staff.
He said: “Councils have to be able to use covert CCTV and other technology to catch environmental criminals. We need a concerted campaign on this issue. The damage caused by illegal dumping and flytipping, in urban and rural areas, is huge and I know that this measure will be welcomed by tidy towns groups as well as by local Councillors across the country.”
A person guilty of an offence under the Litter Prevention Act may be subject to summary conviction to a fine up to €3000 and up to €600 per day for continuing offences. A person convicted on indictment may be subject to a fine up to €130,000 and €10,000 a day for continuing offences. The minimum on-the-spot fine for littering is €150. This may increase in court to €3,000 along with the local authority’s costs and expenses. It should be noted that litter offences include inappropriate disposal of items at bottle bank facilities or in the vicinity of public bins.