IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Chairman Thomas Cooney has called on Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney to lead a robust response with local authorities to tackle serial dumpers, who use the countryside as an illegal tipping ground.
Mr. Cooney said, “The Association has contacted Minister Coveney in recent days urging him to address the scourge of littering in the countryside and impose increased fines, with greater enforcement activity by local authorities to address littering by passing motorists and users of the countryside.”
IFA has identified the following five action points to stop the problem of littering in the countryside:
- Stronger penalties to tackle litter dumping – over 95% of IFA members surveyed support the introduction of tougher penalties being imposed on anyone who dumps litter in the countryside.
- Enforcement of anti-litter laws – The Department of Local Government and each County Council must develop and publish an annual enforcement strategy to tackle illegal dumping.
- Changes to litter legislation – existing litter legislation must be reviewed, to include provisions to address data protection concerns where CCTV cameras are used. The threat of fines and prosecutions on those whose lands others dump litter recklessly on must be removed.
- Civic amenity sites on the outskirts of towns and villages – a network of strategically located skips should be developed on the outskirts of towns and villages, where people can safely dispose of rubbish, rather than litter the countryside.
- Communication and education campaign – local authority environmental enforcement officers must liaise directly with the public to highlight the problem of rural littering, and encourage people to take their litter home and dispose of it correctly. This should be supported by a major national television, radio and print media campaign to highlight the issue.
Concluding, Mr. Cooney said, “Each year thousands of farm families and rural dwellers do great work trying to keep their communities litter free. It is now time that Government and local authorities step up and work with rural Ireland to address this issue in a co-ordinated way.”