Drones to be used to target fly-tippers

Drones are to be used to snare people engaged in illegal dumping at blackspots.

Drones to be used to target fly-tippers

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten has announced the move as part of a €2m crackdown, which he said will include wider installation of CCTV cameras and better enforcement and prosecution actions.

Last year’s Anti-Dumping Initiative resulted in €1.3m being spent on 230 clean-up and restorative projects.

The department said that more than 2.8 thousand tonnes of waste were removed from public and private lands, beaches, walking routes and residential areas.

Additional funding has been sourced for this year’s initiative, with Mr Naughten describing illegal dumping as “economic and environmental treason”.

In a video clip accompanying details of the 2018 Anti- Illegal Dumping Initiative, the minister held a drone and said: “We are going to use technology like drone technology like this, to apprehend, identify and prosecute those who are involved in illegal dumping.”

Communities and local authorities can apply for funding to tackle illegal dumping blackspots in their areas for consideration by the three regional Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities.

Nicholas Bond of the authorities’ southern region said the initiative will allow local authorities to identify projects and partners to help with clean-up operations and protecting areas of conservation and special scenic areas.

“We are going to get more access to surveillance equipment, which will include drones, fixed-wing aircraft and CCTV,” he said.

Some local authorities already employ drones, often to surveil an area to check if dumping has already occurred.

The new initiative will also allow community groups and local authorities to apply for funding for dashcams for vehicles which might help catch any fly-tippers in the act.

Applicants for the funding must include proposed actions focusing on unauthorised waste collectors and the sources of waste, including targeting unpermitted ‘man with a van’ operations advertising online and through leaflet drops.

The department also said it wants to see “intelligence-led days of action and household bulky waste initiatives such as mattress amnesties”.

The deadline for applications is March 2 next and more information is available from the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities and from the environment section of each local authority.

Mr Naughten said: “Our communities are standing as one to say ‘enough’. Our riverways, mountainsides, towns and villages are to be used no longer as the dumping grounds by those who have no respect for our environment, our laws or their neighbours.

“Local communities were central to the success of the Anti-Dumping Initiative last year and they will be again this year.

“These communities are the backbone of our counties and they are also victims, reporters, witnesses and partners in the clean-up and control of sites that are targeted by fly-tippers.”

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