51,700 complaints but few prosecutions for dumping

Local authorities are being swamped by complaints of illegal dumping of waste, while the number of prosecutions for fly-tipping and other offences remains low.

The Environmental Protection Agency said local authorities directly received 50,000 complaints in 2012, in addition to the 1,700 diverted to it from the EPA’s own 24-hour National Environmental Complaints Line.

The vast majority (95%) of calls to the NECL relate to waste issues, with 47% of the complaints received for fly-tipping, while 18% of calls related to larger scale dumping of amounts greater than 20 bags of rubbish.

Approximately one in five of NECL calls were linked to transporting and handling of waste and 6% to the burning of waste.

The EPA said the top three local authorities for complaints were Dublin City Council, Wicklow County Council, and South Dublin County Council. It said this was to be expected as the three local authority areas are involved in the PURE Project, which uses the NECL for reporting environmental complaints.

Despite the huge volume of calls to local authorities regarding illegal dumping, a sample of larger councils shows fluctuations in the number of prosecutions.

* Cork City Council prosecuted 65 cases in 2012 for offences under the Litter Pollution Acts;

* Bernie Lillis, litter prevention officer at Dublin City Council, said 1,461 fines were issued last year but it is “not possible to provide details for fines issued for fly-tipping only, as fines issued for objects deposited from vehicles, abandoned shopping trolleys, leaflets found on street etc are also included in the above figure”. In addition, 256 prosecutions were initiated for non-payment of fines, with 73 convictions obtained in court.

* Limerick City Council brought 122 prosecutions for fly tipping last year, of which 66 were successful;

* In contrast, no one was prosecuted last year for fly tipping in Galway City Council’s area, while in Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown last year six cases were successfully prosecuted.


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