Councillors are keen for drones to be used to catch region's illegal dumpers

March 22nd, 2018 11:55 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

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Some 21 locations on public roads and Council bring sites were monitored by the County Council using covert CCTV last year, resulting in 34 fines being issued to offenders. 

SOME 21 locations on public roads and Council bring sites were monitored by the County Council using covert CCTV last year, resulting in 34 fines being issued to offenders. 

Two locations in the Bandon Kinsale Municipal District were monitored, but none from the West Cork Municipal District.

These figures were revealed at a recent local authority meeting where officials were urged to deploy more drones and technology in a bid to catch the culprits engaged in littering and illegal dumping. 

Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) had sought the figures and said: ‘It’s not an easy issue to resolve but technology does provide us with a tool.’

However, Cllr McGrath said it was very disappointing to see that only six locations were monitored in both 2016 and 2015 which, he said, was ‘extremely low’ and also the fact that only two fines were issued in 2016, with only one issued in 2015.

‘Even the figure of 21 locations for 2017 is too low and we need to be using this technology more,’ said Cllr McGrath.

Cllr McGrath described the discretionary budget figure of €15,500 for Litter Control for 2018 as ‘an absolutely paltry sum.’

‘We need to spend more on enforcement rather than on cleaning it up afterwards, and CCTV offers us this option. We need to revisit this from a budget point of view.’

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) welcomed the debate on covert surveillance equipment and said that the Council needs to use more drones and CCTV to stop the blight of illegal dumping.

However, he criticised the fact that there are only three litter wardens employed in the whole county and said that figure was ‘abysmal.’

‘We have three overworked litter wardens operating in a huge county and the figure of €15,500 is hardly sufficient to do the job,’ said Cllr Murphy, who called for more staff to be employed in this area.

Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the Council does a lot of good work with community groups but the bigger picture was a need for more education to promote civic mindedness. He added that that the Council needs to also look at increasing the hours at Civic Amenity Sites (CAS).

‘Castletownbere doesn’t open on Monday and even a half day would help. We also need to promote better initiatives and subsidies like compost bins, for example, which would reduce weight and the cost of household bins,’ said Cllr Hayes.

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) also called for increased opening hours at both Castletownbere and Derryconell CAS. ‘Derryconnell is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and is only open two-and-a-half days a week, and as it’s busy tourist area, some tourists find they have no place to put their rubbish, ’said Cllr Collins.

Cllr Des O’Grady (SF) said the they were fighting a losing battle in relation to illegal dumping and pointed out it will only get worse when the new bin charges come in.

‘The fact that the figures are going up shows that the problems are increasing,’ said Cllr O’Grady.

The report said that the Council has made an application for more funding under the 2018 Anti Dumping Initiative and hope to carry out surveillance at about 15 to 20 additional locations this year, depending on the level of funding received.

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