A local authority is embracing cutting-edge technology in its battle against fly-tipping and illegal dumping.

Waterford City and County Council has been using a drone to accumulate information on unlawful waste disposal since last summer.

Senior executive engineer at environment Niall Kane said the DJI Phantom model was purchased last July, with the €1,300 cost provided by the Department of Communications, Climate Action, and Environment under an anti-dumping initiative.

The Chinese-built model has an operating temperature of -10C to -50C and a power consumption of 3.12W, meaning it stays airborne for about 20 minutes.

The drone’s take-off weight stands at 1,200g and has an angular velocity, or yaw rotation, of 200 degreess with an ascent/descent speed of 6m/s, and maximum flight velocity of 10m/s.

The drone can send back live footage as well as store data for later analysis.

Mr Kane said the council has been deploying the drone “at least once a week, to help identify the scale and extent of waste on various sites and to pinpoint unauthorised dumping locations”.

Its main benefit is the “ability to survey large areas far faster than on foot and its capacity to obtain a bird’s eye view of waste on the ground which makes it easier to quantify larger deposits of waste”.

Having a high-resolution camera, it assists with GIS (geographical information systems) mapping.

Mr Kane said these maps and other drone footage help the council follow up leads extracted from websites such as DoneDeal or Facebook that may suggest unauthorised activities such as car trading being perpetrated.

While no drone footage has yet been directly involved in court evidence, it has led to several notices of fines being executed.

Mr Kane said as environment personnel presently operate the drone on a non-licensed basis, they are prone to stringent IAA imposed limitations.

“So, last year, we also commissioned a fixed-wing aircraft on three occasions to take aerial photographs of larger scale sites or sites where drone flight is restricted,” he said.

Conducted in conjunction with the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authority, they cost about €700 per flight.


The Cosmetify Index reveals the cosmetics companies that are generating the most buzz online – and Dubai-based Huda Kattan has the top spot.Huda Beauty tops the 10 ‘most popular’ beauty brands this year

Read the script of Kya deLongchamps’ kitchen-sink drama to set the scene to make an informed choice when selecting this home essentialTake the plunge: Read this checklist before you splash out on your new kitchen sink

SOMETIMES, the journey is more important than the destination. And sometimes, we just want to sit at home eating a bag of jelly beans, while thinking about more jelly beans. Life is only as significant or special as we make it.GameTech: Death Stranding is a divisive, beautiful journey packaged in a cool world

Former Oasis drummer Tony McCarroll tells Richard Purden about the mad times when five Manc-Irish lads became one of the biggest rock bands in the worldNot looking back in anger: Former Oasis drummer looks back at the mad times of one of the biggest rock bands in the world

More From The Irish Examiner