‘It’s time to get tough with these people’ – Calls on councils to tackle post Christmas illegal dumping

Blight: an isolated upland area in Co Wicklow targeted by dumping gangs
Blight: an isolated upland area in Co Wicklow targeted by dumping gangs
Rural piles: Some of the post-Christmas litter dumped on Irish farms this year
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Local authorities to develop plans to address the annual increase in littering of the countryside that takes place post-Christmas, as people recklessly dump cans, bottles, used wrapping paper and even the left overs of Christmas dinners.

Thomas Cooney of the Irish Farmers Association has for more severe sanctions on serial dumpers and changes to the legislation so that farmers are no longer held legally responsible for reckless dumping by others. 

“Recent reports indicate that packaging waste generated from online shopping will increase by 33pc this year to 10,000 tonnes.

“The fact is that this will lead to increased dumping by passing motorists who have no regard for our rural countryside. And it’s time to get tough with these people,” he said

Cooney said the on the spot fines for littering introduced this year have not worked.

“We need increased enforcement action by local authorities, as well as tougher sentences and penalties for large scale serial dumpers.

“Local Authorities must begin a post-Christmas anti-littering blitz to ensure Ireland’s countryside is no longer used as a dumping ground,” he said.

In a recent meeting with Environment Minister for State Seán Canney, IFA also called for changes to existing litter legislation, by removing the current threat of fines and prosecution of famers on whose land others irresponsibly dump their litter.

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The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said recently that illegal dumping is first and foremost a matter of individual responsibility and compliance with the law.

He said while enforcement action in this area is a matter for local authorities, his Department is planning a review of its Anti-Dumping Initiative is underway which will inform a 2019 anti-dumping work programme that will place an increased emphasis on those who facilitate the unauthorised movement and disposal of waste.

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