Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (353, 355)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

353. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to increase fines for littering and resource local authorities to ensure enforcement of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22373/19]

View answer

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

355. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of on-the-spot fines issued for littering; the number of persons charged; the number of persons successfully prosecuted in south-west County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22386/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 353 and 355 together.

My Department provides a robust litter policy and legislative framework. Under the Litter Pollution Act(s) 1997 to 2009, responsibility for management and enforcement falls under the remit of Local Authorities. It is a matter for each Local Authority to decide on the most appropriate public awareness, enforcement and clean up actions to take in relation to litter and illegal dumping, taking account of its own local circumstances, competing priorities, and resources available.

Under the Act(s), €150 fixed penalty notices also known as "on-the-spot-fines may be issued by Local Authority authorised officers (and the Gardaí) for littering offences. Where a Local Authority prosecutes an offence in court, the maximum court fine for littering, on summary conviction, is currently €4,000. The level of fines for littering offences is kept under review by my Department.

The specific data requested for south-west County Cork is not collated by my Department. However, data in respect of each Local Authority area on the amount of money collected from on-the-spot litter fines is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/litter/Pages/Local-Authority-Litter-Fines-and-Expenditure-Statistics.aspx

To support Local Authorities in their role, my Department funds the Local Authority Anti-Litter Awareness Grants on an annual basis. My Department also commissions, an annual National Litter Pollution Monitoring System (NLPMS) Report based on individual Local Authority litter surveys. The most recently published results are available at: http://www.litter.ie/system_survey_results/index.shtml

The 2018 NLPMS Report will be published shortly.

I welcome the fact that consecutive NLPMS Reports have, overall, recorded a broad improvement in the litter situation across the country in recent years. However, I recognise the challenges still presented by littering and I believe that a multi-facetted approach is required to address these. The approach taken should incorporate effective enforcement, public awareness and education. I consider that raising of awareness of the litter problem and educating the young people of this country is key to effecting a long term change in Irish society’s attitudes towards litter disposal. In this context, my Department supports a number of other national anti-litter initiatives viz the National Spring Clean, the Green Schools Programme, the Protecting Uplands and Rural Environments (PURE) Project, and the Irish Business Against Litter League. The Department also maintains negotiated agreements with the banking and chewing gum industries.

Question No. 354 answered with Question No. 352.
Question No. 355 answered with Question No. 353.