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Drones to be used in covert surveillance crackdown on illegal dumping

Covert surveillance, including the use of drones, is to form part of a new crackdown on illegal dumping across the country.

A campaign of "smart enforcement" is to be launched next month with plans also in place for the use of satellite imaging and more CCTV at locations prone to dumping.

Around €2m has also been allocated by Environment Minister Denis Naughten for the recruitment of extra enforcement officers at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The problem of illegal dumping has grown steadily in recent years with Dublin City Council spending in the region of €650,000-a-year cleaning up 2,600 tonnes of illegal waste.

The average number of complaints in the capital city alone is 8,000 every year.

However, it is hoped the use of drones to capture evidence of illegal dumping will deter offenders.

In particular, the Department of Environment believes 'smart enforcement interventions' will prove to be a key tool in the fight against fly-tipping.

The Australian province of Victoria recently began a similar initiative.

"My message is clear: if you dump waste illegally and blight our countryside and roads with filth you will be caught and prosecuted," Mr Naughten said.

"The use of smart technology will be able to identify those who engage in this deplorable practice.

"I am confident the new initiative that I am introducing will prove effective in both deterring and catching illegal dumpers and I am encouraging community groups across the country to come together to apply and benefit from it."

Funding for extra enforcement officers will be available to community groups and state agencies who work in partnership to prevent illegal dumping.

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The Rapid (Revitalising Areas through Planning, Investment and Development) programme is being delivered in 51 disadvantaged areas while the Government's Clar programme focuses on disadvantaged rural areas.

Applications from both such areas of the country will be prioritised, as well as those which are identified in the Ibal (Irish Business Against Litter) reports.

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