IFA has welcomed the decision by Environment Minister Richard Bruton T.D. to ring-fence funds to tackle increased illegal dumping during the current COVID-19 crisis.
However, the Association has called on the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities (WERLAs) to develop a results-based plan setting out clearly how this €1m will be spent, what prosecutions they expect to achieve, and how many additional fixed notice penalties they expect local authorities to issue.
Paul O’Brien, IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Chairman said, “Funding to tackle the growing issue of dumping in the countryside is important. But farm families and rural communities are rightly asking, what’s this €1m being used for and how will it lead to catching the serial dumpers who are a blight on the countryside? It’s time Government got tough on these litter louts and asked hard questions of local authorities and the WERLAs who have enforcement and prosecution powers when it comes to tackling illegal dumping”.
IFA has restated its call, made in a submission to the Department of Environment earlier this year, for urgent action to tackle the issue of reckless littering in rural areas, by introducing the following five key actions:
Details of those who receive on-the spot fines on more than two occasions must be published on local authority websites.
The regional waste enforcement authorities must ensure that all local authorities have a litter prevention plan in place, which is being implemented.
All local authorities must publish a list of convicted serial dumpers and seek tougher sentences.
All retailers, including on-line retailers who put waste packing on the market must be required to fund a recycling programme for the correct management of these materials.
Current waste management laws must be changed to ensure that reckless dumpers are pursued by local authorities and enforcement agencies, not the farmers on whose land is dumped upon.