Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Dáil Issues, Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to curtail the increase in illegal dumping linked to the rising cost of domestic waste collection charges. – Clare Daly.

REPLYIn line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity – Waste Management Policy in Ireland, published in 2012, and in the interest of encouraging further waste prevention and greater recycling, flat-rate fees for kerbside household waste collection were phased out over the period autumn 2017 to autumn 2018.

My Department established a Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group (PMG) to monitor pricing developments for household waste collection services during the phasing out of flat rate fees.  The PMG has met each month since September 2017 and has considered fifteen months of pricing data trends.  The PMG has indicated that, in the vast majority of cases to date, charges have remained stable. Detailed data is available on www.dccae.gov.ie.

The response from communities across the country to the national anti-dumping initiative demonstrates that the majority of citizens treasure and respect our environment and manage their waste responsibly.  Since its introduction in 2017 funding of €3.3M has been provided to support over 400 projects to combat illegal dumping including- clean-up operations; household bulky waste initiatives; awareness campaigns; surveillance operations and SMART enforcement equipment for waste enforcement officers.

My Department is also supporting the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities in commissioning a report on unauthorised activity in the waste sector in Ireland.  It should also be noted that, under new bye-laws, local authorities are establishing registers which record the details of households which are using the services of an authorised waste operator- whether a kerbside collector, or civic amenity facility. Local authorities may use this information to target households which appear not to be managing their waste correctly or who appear to be using the services of an unauthorised operator.  This data will support a number of awareness, education and enforcement programmes already initiated by individual local authorities.

To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he will take to address the effects of an increase in illegal dumping on rural communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Clare Daly.

REPLY

Illegal dumping is first and foremost a matter of individual responsibility and compliance with the law. While enforcement action in this area is a matter for local authorities, my Department encourages a multi-facetted approach to tackling the problem, incorporating enforcement, public awareness and education and, as such, provides funding to support the activities of the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities of approximately €1 million per annum and of the network of local authority waste enforcement officers of approximately €7.4 million per annum.

In addition, my Department has developed the Anti-Dumping Initiative to work in partnership with local authorities and community organisations in identifying high risk or problem areas, developing appropriate enforcement responses and carrying out clean-up operations. Since 2017 funding of €3.3 million has been made available from the Environment Fund to support over 400 projects across all 31 local authority areas, remediating black spots and equipping local authority enforcement officers with the latest technologies available to support SMART enforcement of our waste laws. Details on the projects approved for funding can be accessed on my Department’s website- https://dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/enforcement/anti-dumping-initiative/Pages/default.aspx .

A review of this initiative is underway which will inform a 2019 anti-dumping work programme that will place an increased emphasis on all actors who facilitate the unauthorised movement and disposal of waste.