I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 14 together.
Since taking office the Minister, Deputy Dempsey, and I have made litter eradication a priority. As part of our initiatives in this area, the National Anti-Litter Forum established last July has been tasked with reviewing existing anti-litter actions and developing a programme of measures to enhance and extend these actions. I understand that good progress has been made by the forum in its work and that its report will be submitted shortly to the Minister for the Environment and Local Government.
As regards An Taisce's project, National Spring Clean 2000, my Department is contributing £140,000 towards the estimated overall cost of £230,000 for this year's campaign. The balance of the cost is being met through commercial sponsorship. The Minister, Deputy Dempsey, and I co-hosted the formal launch of National Spring Clean 2000 last Monday in Dublin Castle. National spring clean is an innovative and ambitious project which deserves our support as part of the national effort to tackle litter pollution in this country.
In addition to these measures, the Minister, Deputy Dempsey, and I are pursuing other anti-litter initiatives, including doubling the on-the-spot fine to £50; allocating almost £1 million to local authorities for anti-litter initiatives in the past three years – a similar grant scheme will operate in 2000; approving the development of a national monitoring system to assess local authority anti-litter action – the system will be fully implemented over coming months; writing recently to all Ministers and Ministers of State enlisting their support for anti-litter action and urging that all Departments and agencies take the necessary steps to keep lands and properties under their control litter free and continuing strong personal support at many fora, conferences and launches of local litter campaigns.
Primary responsibility for tackling litter pollution, including clean-up measures, rests with local authorities. Many local authorities are using the extended powers available to them under the Litter Pollution Act, 1997, to take a more proac tive approach to combating litter. This is reflected in the statistics on local authority enforcement action available in the Oireachtas Library which demonstrate significant improvement since 1997. Clearly there is no room for complacency. Local authority anti-litter performance must continue to improve and extend to all authorities. I will continue to convey my views on this matter directly to elected members and managers.