Illegal dumping ‘wasting’ farmer’s time and money

Rathangan farmer Billy Gray revealed how illegal dumping was costing him time and money, on the RTE TV programme ‘Prime Time’ on Thursday night, May 18.

The Rathangan to Edenderry road on the Kildare/Offaly border was highlighted as a blackspot in the investigative report, which singled out up to 20 different sites along the route.

Gray, who is the Kildare county Chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), has been plagued by illegal dumping for many years.

The cattle, sheep, and tillage farmer, rents a lot of land and much of this fragmented ground is affected by illegal dumping by motorists.

“Tipping of builders’ rubble in gateways is very common and we constantly have to clean it up,” Gray told Agriland.

Some offenders have stopped in a lay-by and thrown black bags of rubbish into a field where his cattle have then broken them up, he said.

A mattress and beech hedging have recently been dumped on his land too.

The beech hedging which was thrown there within the last two weeks, could easily have been composted in the person’s own garden.

“People are quite blatant about dumping.”

This means Gray has to do regular clean-ups. Recently a new barrier had to be erected on the Kildare/Monasterevin road to stop motorists reversing in to dump builders’ rubble.

It’s an ongoing problem, according to Gray. He said that it existed before the introduction of bin charges but seemed to worsen after the clampdown on back yard burning of rubbish.

But Gray told Agriland that Kildare County Council has been proactive on the issue.

“’No dumping’ signs have been put up. In certain parts of Kildare, the council has been successful in clamping down but then people move on somewhere else.

“The council’s Environmental Officer is very good but it’s a case of how much one man can police the whole county when it comes to illegal dumping in the countryside.

“It’s not a case of the council sitting on the problem. It’s all the time trying to clean up bin bags that have been dumped,” Gray said.

Many roads into bogs have been closed using barriers but offenders then simply dump their rubbish at the barriers, he said.

“The ICSA has been highlighting the problem and lobbying TDs. Martin Heydon in Kildare has done a lot. There is only so far you can go,” Gray added.

However, Gray highlighted one initiative that has helped – the clean-ups by local community groups.

“They are very active in Kildare, and once their area is cleaned up and the rubbish removed by the council, they keep an eye out for illegal dumping.

“These clean-ups are happening more and more, and are encouraged by the County Council.

“They are one initiative that will help greatly, going forward, and could help in other areas of the country affected by illegal dumping,” Gray said.