‘Discreet’ CCTV can deter the dumpers

Legislation is needed so that CCTV can be installed in dumping blackspots across the county, according to Cllr Emer Tóibín who has expressed concern at the level of illegal dumping in Meath.

"There are places that are used for dumping over and over again, like Girley bog, land just off the motorway and on farmland.

"The best way to stop this and deter dumpers and prosecute those who do, would be to have discreet CCTV cameras in those areas.

"Unfortunately because of GDPR this is not possible," she pointed out.

"The council is aware of the blackspots and the cameras could be moved around, working their way through the list until the dumping tops."

Cllr Tóibín said that there arre moves in the Seanad to introduce legislation that would allow for the use of such cameras.

"I believe it is cumbersome, but we need new legislation. After all, they got around GDPR to allow CCTV in the towns," she said.

At a meeting of Navan Municipal Council last week, Cllr Tóibín asked Meath County Council to quantify the cost of cleaning up illegal dumping in the Navan Municipal District for the last four years and to outline the sanctions and level of enforcement throughout the local area.

She also asked the council explain its responsibility related to rubbish collection and rural area clean-ups.

She was told the costs associated with illegal dumping and littering can mainly be broken down over the headings of street cleaning, litter management and provision of waste to collection services.

While the costs of street cleaning can be apportioned across the six Municipal Districts it is not possible to break down the costs for the other two headings

The meeting heard the council spent €442,281 on street cleaning in Navan last year.

Across the county, the council spent €613,317 on litter management and €183,998 on waste to collection services.

Cllr Tóibín was told that littering in a public place is an offence which can be subject to an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a maximum fine of €3,000 in court, while people who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €5,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

"The council through its waste enforcement officers and community wardens are continuously monitoring the situation with specific incidents and patterns of illegally activity being investigated thoroughly. Investigations do lead to fines and prosecutions in the courts," a report to the meeting stated.

Officials pointed out the recent Irish Business Against Litter League showed that despite the various Covid lockdowns, there has been a considerable increase in the amount of litter generated and with a reduction of 25per cent in the number of the towns being judged to be clean.

Cllr Tóibín was told the Council was also involved in local and national educational and awareness campaigns in respect of litter and dumping and provided support to local groups wishing to take part in clean ups including the provision of equipment, and financial supports through various grants schemes including amenity grants, Pride of Place, Tidy Towns, anti litter etc. The recently introduced Green Kilometre Scheme is proving extremely popular with groups and individuals who would like to contribute to their local community.

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