Fly-tipping tops complaints to tip-off hotline

More than half the calls made to the country’s tip-off line for environmental complaints involved fly-tipping.

Statistics provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed that 1,600 calls were made to the National Environmental Complaints Line (NECL) last year.

Of those, 57% involved members of the public complaining about the illegal dumping of up to 20 bags of rubbish.

The EPA also said that in addition to the calls made to the tip-off line, the various local authorities received an estimated 60,000 environmental complaints last year.

The complaints made to the NECL were forwarded to the relevant local authority to be addressed — with the bulk of the complaints taking place in larger urban areas, predominantly in the east of the country.

Dublin City Council had the highest percentage of calls made about dumping and other issues to the NECL, at 22%.

Wicklow County Council received 11% of the complaints, the same percentage as South Dublin County Council; while Fingal had 5%.

However, the EPA said Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, and Wicklow County Council, make use of the NECL service via the Pure Project (Protecting Uplands & Rural Environments), a specific initiative in operation since 2006 to combat the increase of illegal dumping/fly-tipping in the Wicklow/Dublin uplands. An EPA spokesperson said this contributed to the higher volume of NECL calls about dumping in those areas.

In contrast, just 1% of the NECL tip-offs last year were related to the Cork City Council area — the same as local authorities in Cavan, Carlow, Galway City, Kerry and Leitrim.

8% of the NECL complaints related to the Cork County Council area. While fly-tipping is responsible for the largest percentage of NECL contacts, concerns about smoke and fumes were responsible for 10% of the calls made to it last year, while 9% of contacts related to larger instances of illegal dumping involving more than 20 bags of rubbish.

Litter and other rubbish caused another 10% of calls to the NECL, with the remainder of calls split between complaints about back-yard burning, industrial or commercial noise pollution, odours including agricultural smells and slurry spreading, and spills and discharges into rivers and the sea.

However, Cork County Council has already warned that it may name and shame anyone found fly-tipping.

Sharon Corcoran, head of Cork County Council’s environment directorate, said last month the local authority would consider such a move in addition to the introduction of new weighing equipment at 11 centres in Co Cork, and the deployment of additional personnel.

The council is among those who wrote to the Department of the Environment to postpone the planned new charges for disposing of waste at civic amenity sites, applicable to recyclable waste from July 1, over fears it could exacerbate the problem of roadside litter.


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