Clampdown on Illegal Waste Activities

Date released: Oct 24 2007

  • Enforcement Network Bulletin Focus on Waste Enforcement released today at the annual Environmental Enforcement Network Waste Conference.
  • The Bulletin, based on data gathered from members of the Enforcement Network, shows:
  • Over 32,000 waste related inspections were completed in 2006 by 317 staff working in the Local Authorities
  • Callers from Dublin, Wicklow and Cork top the list for the 2184 calls to the EPA “Dump the Dumpers” hotline
  • Fly-tipping is the most common issue reported to the hotline
  • Helicopter survey identifies 60 illegal car scrapyards in Cork
  • Odour nuisance from waste facilities has become a major issue

Enforcement officers dealing with illegal waste activities are meeting in Wexford today and tomorrow.  They will review the results of enforcement action taken against illegal operators over the past year and decide the next offensive against illegal waste activities. 

This major waste enforcement conference coincides with the release of key enforcement statistics today that show a doubling of waste related inspections to over 32,000 delivered by a network of 317 staff dedicated to environmental enforcement from 34 Local Authorities.  The fourth annual Environmental Enforcement Network Waste Conference will set the agenda in waste enforcement for targeting illegal waste operators. 

Dara Lynott, Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) in the EPA welcomed the fact that the major issues identified in the 2005 EPA Report Nature & Extent of Unauthorised Waste Activity in Ireland are being systematically tackled.  Mr. Lynott said that there was no room for complacency as challenges - such as increased illegal collection, fly tipping of waste and poor management of construction & demolition waste - remain. 

Key developments in waste enforcement:

Major investigations into illegal sites in Northern Ireland are in progress.    The Office of Environmental Enforcement is working with the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) in Northern Ireland to share intelligence and gather evidence so as to ensure that the polluter pays and that those responsible face hefty fines and jail sentences.  Lines of enquiry are being followed and the investigating authorities in the Republic of Ireland are examining the suspected producers, collectors and transporters of the waste.

The EPA’s “Dump the Dumpers” phone line service (Call Save 1850 365 121) had 2184 calls in its first year of operation.  Seventy five per cent of calls received related to incidents of fly tipping and burning of waste.  Dublin received 522 complaints, which places the county it in the top three along with Wicklow (349) and Cork (266).

The types of enforcement activities undertaken by Local Authorities has changed radically over the last number of years with the likes of Cork County Council using a helicopter survey to identify 60 unauthorised car scrapyards which were subsequently inspected. Forty per cent of these sites have either closed or are closing and more are upgrading their facilities to the appropriate standards. Enforcement action is planned against a number of facilities. Other enforcement case studies detail sting operations being taken against illegal collectors of waste and against those burning waste.  Using new legislative powers, Kilkenny County Council secured a landfill levy of €170,000 in respect of an unauthorised landfilling activity.

The Enforcement Network Bulletin Focus on Waste Enforcement, can be accessed on the EPA website.