In Environment, News by Denis Naughten

Roscommon community groups urged to apply

Describing illegal dumping as ‘economic and environmental treason’ Local Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD is allocating €2 million this year for a targeted crackdown on illegal dumping black spots across the country. Since being appointed as Minister for Environment Denis Naughten has led the charge against illegal dumping and has consistently secured increased funding to tackle the scourge.

Minister Naughten has launched his 2018 Anti-Illegal Dumping Initiative and he is encouraging Roscommon community groups through Roscommon Council to apply for a share of this increased funding.

Covert surveillance and smart technology including aerial imagery from drones and satellites as well as the installation of CCTV cameras and better enforcement and prosecution actions will form a central part of this year’s crackdown, confirmed Minister Naughten.

It builds on the success of last year’s Anti-Dumping Initiative where €1.3 million was spent on 230 clean-up and restorative projects across the country led by community, environmental and sporting groups across the country. Up to 3000 tonnes of waste was removed from public and private lands, beaches, walking routes and residential areas.

In Roscommon alone €54,659 was allocated to Co. Roscommon last year which was used to fund the removal of 80 tonnes of illegally dumped waste across 10 sites on public and private lands, walking routes and residential areas. Roscommon County Council also used these funds to install CCTV and other monitoring and surveillance equipment to target those committing these crimes against the environment.

“Communities across Roscommon and Ireland are fighting back and reclaiming our rivers, beaches, parks and walkways from illegal dumpers. The response to last year’s anti-dumping initiative from the public and local authorities was unprecedented. 10 black spots in Roscommon alone and 230 black spots nationwide were cleaned up and measures put in place to protect against a return of fly tipping in these areas. This year I am increasing the allocation by €700,000 up to €2 million to build on the momentum that has now been created and to provide for a bigger focus on identifying and prosecuting illegal dumpers. Unlicensed and bogus waste collectors advertising on-line or through leaflet drops will be targeted. I am encouraging householders to always ask to see a permit before engaging with any bulky waste disposal operators. This is for your own protection,” added Minister Naughten.

“Disposal of mattresses are emerging as a significant environmental problem for local authorities with many mattresses being illegally dumped on road ways, mountains and beaches. This year I am encouraging Councils, including Roscommon Council, to consider holding a mattress amnesty day where homeowners could bring their mattresses to a recycling point free of charge. Wexford Co Council held a hugely successful mattress amnesty day last October which saw 530 mattresses brought in on that day alone,” added Naughten.

Applications for funding under the 2018 Anti-dumping Initiative are now being invited from Roscommon County Council for consideration by the Connacht Waste Enforcement Regional Local Authority subject to the selection criteria developed.

This year there’ll also be a focus on unauthorised waste collectors and the sources of waste targeting unlicensed ‘man with a van’ operations advertising on-line and through leaflet drops; intelligence led days of action; household bulky waste initiatives such as mattress amnesties. Funds will also continue to be made available to support enforcement personnel in accessing the latest ICT enforcement tools.

Minister Denis Naughten concluded: “The battle is well and truly on to catch and prosecute those who are committing environmental and economic treason. Our communities are standing as one to say enough. Our river-ways, mountainsides, towns and villages are to be used no longer as the dumping grounds by those who have no respect for our environment, our laws or their neighbours. Roscommon communities were central to the success of the Anti-Dumping Initiative last year and they will be again this year. Local communities are the backbone of our county and they are also victims, reporters, witnesses and partners in the clean-up and control of sites that are targeted by fly-tippers.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, 2nd March and further information on the 2018 anti-dumping initiative is available from the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities and from the Environment Section of Roscommon County Council.