Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (62)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

62. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to address the issue of illegal household dumping and of alleged highly organised illegal dumping of industrial and soil waste in areas of north County Dublin and Fingal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15749/19]

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Oral answers (6 contributions) (Question to Communications)

This question was submitted some time ago. It is about the serious problem of littering in our constituency of Dublin Bay North and the general problem of illegal dumping across north Dublin, especially in an area I indicated to the Minister. He has provided additional funding of €3 million for the 2019 anti-dumping initiative but constituents are still very anxious that the problem is resolved. There should be a strong lead from the Department on the issue of dumping, littering and criminal behaviour.

The Deputy raised this matter previously and I am aware of his concern. Each local authority, including Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council, is responsible for the supervision and the enforcement of the relevant provisions of the Waste Management Act within its functional area. Local authorities have specific powers under the Act to require measures to be taken or to take measures directly to prevent or limit environmental pollution caused or likely to be caused by the holding, recovery or disposal of waste and to mitigate or remedy the effects on the environment of such activity.

The eastern and midlands waste enforcement regional lead authority has co-ordinated a number of multi-agency operations close to this site. This has resulted in the impounding of vehicles used for alleged unauthorised waste activities and the initiation of prosecutions. Officials from my Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, have met Dublin City Council on site to assess the situation, their responses to date and to examine what measures of support can be provided to Dublin City Council under the 2019 anti-dumping initiative and the sites of concern programme. I recently announced funding of €3 million for the 2019 anti-dumping initiative, an increase of 50% on last year's funding.

The key concern was the emergence of a huge, illegal dump beside residents' homes. It was illegal under the 1996 Act and regulations. As I said previously, a mountain of rubbish has begun to move across an amenity open space towards dozens of houses. People are very distressed by this. It has been a problem across the north fringe of Dublin city and the south fringe of Fingal, which the Minister and I are delighted to represent, and it must be addressed severely.

It is being taken very seriously.

The national waste enforcement steering committee will discuss this particular site at its next meeting in June. An effort is being made to get co-ordination among the various agencies that can play a part in order to get resolution. As I have said, the Environmental Protection Agency met city councillors as recently as last week to try to make progress in this area. As the Deputy is aware, it has proved a challenging site. I assure him that-----

Does the Minister expect any prosecutions?

There have already been prosecutions, as I outlined in my reply. Vehicles have been impounded and prosecutions initiated.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.