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Ennis, Clare, Ireland, 2007/03/27 - Clare County Council’s Waste Enforcement Unit, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, established road checkpoints on a number of primary and secondary roads in the county over the weekend - ClareCoCo.ie.
The checkpoints, situated along the Limerick-Clare border, were for the purpose of monitoring the collection and movement of waste material around the County.
Vehicles transporting waste material, or suspected of transporting waste material, were stopped, their loads inspected and drivers questioned to assess compliance with Waste Management legislation. Two separate mobile units were in operation, each consisting of three Council staff and one member of An Garda Síochána. Between 9.30am and 11.30am on Saturday 24th March, five checkpoints were mounted with over 60 vehicles stopped. Inspected vehicles consisted mainly of large trucks, as well as medium to light commercial vans.
Commenting on the weekend checkpoints, Cllr. Patricia McCarthy, Chair of Clare County Council’s Environment, Emergency Services and Consumer Protection Strategic Policy Committee stated, “This is a most welcome development in the Council’s fight against illegal dumping, which is an issue that affects all of us. However, checkpoints are only one aspect of this clampdown. Such activity complements the existing monitoring by our Environment Patrol Wardens as well as Enforcement action in the courts. It is equally important that individual members of the public play their part in stamping out this problem”.
In 2006, Clare County Council (clarecoco.ie) investigated over 1100 complaints regarding illegal dumping of waste, 650 of which were resolved on site. 169 litter fines were issued and 18 cases were taken to the District Courts.
“Clare County Council intends to carry out further checkpoints during the evening and night time”, according to Sean Ward, Senior Engineer, Environment Section, Clare County Council.
He continued, “The weekend checkpoints form part of a more proactive approach by the Council against unauthorised waste activity and particularly illegal dumping or ‘fly-tipping’. Such activity is a blight on many of the county’s roads, especially quieter country roads.”
Mr. Ward stated that the illegal collection and dumping of waste was an environmental crime and should be recognised as such and those responsible prosecuted. He added, “Numerous locations throughout Clare have become prone to such violations and communities must be vigilant when litter offences are evident. Once located, the site is investigated and where possible, action taken under the Waste Management and Litter Pollution Acts through the issue of warning letters, litter fines, and Section 18 Notices under the Waste Management Act, which requires certain information to be submitted”.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council’s Waste Enforcement Unit is reminding members of the public that they should be vigilant and always check that persons collecting their waste possess valid waste collection permits.
”Under the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations, 2001, all waste collectors must have a valid Waste Collection Permit. If someone has their suspicions about a waste collector, I recommend that they ask the collector for their Waste Collection Permit number and contact the Environment Directorate on 065-6846331”, Mr Ward concluded.
Clare County Council’s dedicated multi-disciplinary Waste Management Enforcement Team, which was established in May 2004, continues to police and prosecute breaches of the law. Activities undertaken include the use of closed circuit television in suitable situations, the tracking of suspect vehicle movements, and the use of aerial surveys to detect illegal dumping in mountainous and bogland areas.
The Local Authority also employs three Environmental Patrol Wardens, each responsible for one of three of the County areas - North Clare, West Clare and East & South Clare. Their day-to-day patrols are carried out throughout these areas in both a proactive patrol capacity and in response to complaints received from members of the public. Complaints received by the Environment Directorate are followed up on by a site visit by the Patrol Warden, leading to resolution on site and/or warnings (verbal and written)/issue of fines or legal proceedings. Initial investigations may also lead to further visits to sites by Engineers and to the issuing of enforcement notices.