Anti-dumping CCTV cameras will continue to be used across Kilkenny - despite data protection issues in other counties.
A threat to the use of CCTV being used to detect illegal dumping in some counties looks set to be headed off by new legislation from the Department of the Environment - but in the meantime the local county council believe they have a sound, legal data protection basis for the use of CCTV.
Last year alone CCTV was used to detect 57% of illegal dumping at bring banks across Kilkenny city and county. However, the Data Protection Commissioner has raised concerns with several other local authorities that their use of public surveillance cameras does not comply with GDPR.
Every spot where a CCTV camera is used as a deterrent to dumping in Kilkenny is first subject to a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA). Director of Services with Kilkenny County Council Sean McKeown said they are happy, based on advice given to the council, that they do have a legal basis for the CCTV cameras currently used across the county. He believes the Data Protection Commissioner’s concern arises where local authorities do not have DPIAs.
Without the cameras fighting illegal dumping in Kilkenny would become difficult, Mr McKeown said.
“There are 46 bring bank sites in the city and county. Twenty have proved problematic, black spots for littering and dumping of mostly household waste, beside the bins,” he explained.
“If we didn’t have CCTV we would find it very difficult. We can’t be at the bring banks 24/7. We’d be depending on members of the public to ring us. CCTV is very effective.”
Every site where Kilkenny County Council has installed CCTV to combat dumping has been subject to a DPIA. Mr McKeown said: “DPIAs are really important. Each one outlines who gathers the information, how it is used and how it is used to prosecute offenders.”
The DPIA also sets out that information is held for only a certain period of time. It is reviewed and deleted if not needed. The County Council works on a 30 day cycle.
Because of recent concerns raised by the Data Protection Commissioner about the use of CCTV in some local authorities, Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan, will bring forward a new Waste Management Act, later this year. It is intended this will give local authorities clarity on the use of CCTV for detection and prevention of illegal dumping.
Meanwhile, CCTV remains in place at 20 bring banks and successfully prevents and detects illegal dumping.
In 2020, 223 fixed penalty notices were issued by Kilkenny County Council under the Litter Pollution Act. A total of 57% of offences were detected using CCTV at bring banks.