Revealed: The cost of cleaning up after fly-tipping litter bugs

2018 might yet be one of the worst years on record for fly-tipping and illegal dumping on land, on streets in towns and in villages across the country.

Information obtained by AgriLand indicates that hundreds of thousands of euro was spent by local authorities cleaning up after litter bugs last year and that a significant number of on-the-spot fines were issued to guilty parties.

The clean-up process has been a very costly exercise for some local authorities.

AgriLand can reveal that Kilkenny County Council, for example, forked out a massive €1.3 million last year just to tidy up after fly-tippers and to maintain its street cleaning and bin servicing.

In a statement, the local authority said it received a total of 1,219 complaints in relation to littering and illegal dumping in 2018 – a total of 95 fines were subsequently issued under the Litter Pollution Act 1997.

“A total of 10 cases proceeded to court in 2018 and were successfully prosecuted. Six of the cases related to offences in 2017 and four related to 2018 offences.

“A total of €6,515 was collected in litter fines and €2,599 collected under court awarded costs,” a spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Cavan County Council said it received 612 complaints in relation to “litter and waste” in 2018 and spent close to €1 million (€929,819) cleaning up in the aftermath.

The local authority issued 150 fines in respect of the matter and collected €10,694 as a result. One case made it to the district court and €150 was collected following conviction.

Monaghan

Further north in Co. Monaghan, the local authority there received 324 litter related complaints and issued 80 on-the-spot fines.

Monaghan County Council spent €30,000 on a litter awareness programme last year and €644,000 was spent on “scavenging activities” in 2017.  A spokesperson also pointed to the fact that 2018 figures have yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, AgriLand can also reveal that Monaghan County Council spent €1.4 million on clean-up costs last year. This figure was broken down into payment for removal of rubbish; fleet / plant materials; and waste disposal costs.

Dublin

In the capital, South Dublin County Council told AgriLand that it received 3,698 complaints regarding illegal dumping, fly-tipping and littering in 2018.

All such cases are investigated by our Litter Warden Service to establish if there was any identifying evidence and as a result 598 fines were issued.

The spokesperson continued: “A total of €46,067 was received in payment against these fines; some of this figure relates to fines issued in late 2017.

“During 2018, 62 cases were heard in court – 34 of which had a successful outcome and €20,642 was awarded to the council in court fines and costs.”

Kerry

Down south, Kerry County Council confirmed it received 995 reports of fly-tipping incidents in 2017.

A spokesperson pointed to the fact that its figures for 2018 have not yet been finalised.

142 fines were issued and 32 prosecutions resulted.

15 litter bugs were convicted in the local district court and the county council collected a total of €5,685 in penalties. The litter management costs for Kerry County Council for 2017 amounted to €602,148.

Limerick

Meanwhile, in Co. Limerick the local authority received 1,876 complaints in relation to littering and illegal dumping.

59 cases proceeded to the district court where 24 convictions ensued and €800 was collected in fines.

A spokesperson told AgriLand that 448 litter fines were issued in total throughout 2018 and €22,710 was collected in revenue as a result.

Louth

In the north east, Louth County Council had 19 prosecutions in 2018 under the litter Pollution Act and collected a total of €21,949.20 in fines.

A spokesperson said a number of complaints made last year were still being investigated.

He added: “A small number of cases are underway in both the district and appeals court.”