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Litter louts to be fined €175 in clampdown

LITTER louts are to be targeted in a new move to help keep Dublin clean, with a proposed 16pc hike in maximum fines.

Local authorities in and around the city propose a maximum penalty of €175 for "littering which endangers health and creates a risk of injury to pedestrians or traffic".

The fine would also cover situations where there is a "potential to harm the environment", according to a document on proposed amendments to the Litter Pollution Acts.

Where the charge is not paid within 21 days, the fine would increase by 50pc.

In addition, the punishment for littering with small items such as cigarette butts, chewing gum or leaflets would be revised downwards from €150 to €75.

Littering from vehicles or leaving a bag of rubbish on the street would lead to a €125 fine.

The recommendations for a tiered approach arose out of a workshop attended by representatives from Dublin's four local authorities, Meath and Wicklow county councils and Bray Town Council.

The local authorities have also drawn up plans to address problems with skip bags.

The report notes that the containers are available at hardware stores free of charge or at up to €12 per bag.

Purchasers are advised that, when the bag is full, they can pay a company to remove it.

"The practice is that skip bags are dumped in laneways, green areas etc. Unlike a metal skip that is hired from a skip company there is no identifying mark and therefore impossible to trace the owner," the report states.

It is intended to impose more traceability requirements for skip bags.

Details of the proposed changes came as the Herald reported only three fines for dog littering in the city have been paid in five years.

The council only issued 17 fines for the offence since 2007. and just three of those penalties have been paid.

Discussions have focused on the need to strengthen the laws so that the dog licence holder is fined, not just the person in charge of the animal.

This would allow the owners of unaccompanied dogs to be prosecuted, the council said.