The ‘man with the van’ is being targeted in a crackdown on illegal dumping in the county.
As yet more illegal dumping was reported recently in Tullow, Carlow County Council is utilising a variety of methods to detect and prosecute illegal dumping cases.
The council had issued 100 litter fines this year and by the end of October had instigated court proceedings against eight individuals.
Eleven fixed-penalty notices have also been issued to waste operators for breaches under their licences, 57 notices for abandoned cars and 22 warning letters for various offences.
Small amounts of dumped rubbish are dealt with by way of €150 fines. However, if the cost of clean-up is deemed greater than €150, a court prosecution is initiated under the ***Waste Management Act***.
Fines of up to €500 are commonly imposed along with legal costs being awarded to the council.
Those coming before the courts include illegal collectors, ‘the man with the van’ and their customers.
Currently, the council has five cases before the courts, including one individual who has 13 separate summonses.
Bench warrants for the arrest of people who have failed to answer these offences in court have also been issued.
This includes one person who is alleged to have dumped rubbish in the back of a neighbouring unoccupied premises.
In some instances, illegal collectors are using Facebook to advertise their services, promising to clear out sheds for a nominal sum, as Brian O’Donovan from the council’s environment section explained.
“In some cases, it just a complete avoidance of cost. People see a good deal, a guy calls to the house and says I’ll clear your shed for €10 or €20. They give fake receipts for a recycling centre or dump. People feel they are getting a good deal.”
He added: “We had a case earlier this year when two relations were both issued with litter fines. They came back to us and identified the collector. They had to go away and pay their fines, but they were happy to give evidence against the collector and we got the collector as well.”
Most recently, at the Tullow Recycling Centre on Friday, a bed, a clothes airer, an electric heater, a kettle, a toaster, a gazebo tent, old paint cans, crockery, clothing and domestic waste were mindlessly dumped.
It’s understood there are five separate pieces of identifying evidence amid the rubbish. The council will follow up this evidence as well as investigating how the rubbish was dumped in Tullow, including whether it was illegal collector.
Tullow councillor John Pender commented: “Fly-tipping is getting worse all the time and this is another blatant incident … doing it in the centre of the yard ‒ it’s disgraceful.”
Door-to-door inspections, which were brought in by new by-laws in 2018, have proved effective in tackling dumping, according to the council.
More than 400 inspections have been conducted so far in 2019, with another raft set to be done before the year’s end.
The inspections are done in areas where there are few bins on the kerbside on bin collection dates and dumping is taking place nearby.
The council can make lawful demand on households to show how they dispose of their waste.
“If they say ‘none of your business’, they can get an on-the-spot fine. They are required to give this evidence,” said Mr O’Donovan.
The council has received information about illegal collectors through these inspections, while it has also helped to increase waste awareness in the public. On another positive note, a problem dumping area in Carlow town for the past decade has been transformed after a series of enforcement actions.
The council’s message to households is to ensure a person getting the waste has a valid collection permit. The permit can be checked online or with the council.
“If they don’t have a permit, it’s going to be dumped, whether on the side of the road or on a mountain. There is no question about it. People can’t be running a service for €10 or €20 a load. It doesn’t add up,” said Mr O’Donovan.
The senselessness of the dumping can be staggering. A bag of aluminium cans was dumped in the scenic surrounds of Milford over the weekend. Mr O’Donovan pointed out that free recycling for these cans is available in Leighlinbridge, Old Leighlin, Carlow town and Ballinabranna.
“It’s just complete laziness, a complete lack of respect,” he said.