Kilkenny County Council has increased its enforcement capacity by purchasing additional specialised cameras which are in constant use at various locations throughout the county.
Deployed at ‘Litter Hot Spots’ the cameras allow continuous 24 hour monitoring. The council secured a litter prosecution last month using evidence captured on a camera. A Kilkenny city resident was fined €300 and ordered to pay legal costs of €518. The evidence presented in court was camera footage that clearly revealed the defendant dumping rubbish onto a road verge.
Since the installation of the new technology, it has captured footage of approximately 70 litter offenders using the cameras. Each litter offence is subject to a litter fine of €150. Failure to pay the fine may lead to heavier penalties (up to €3,000 in the District Court), as the Kilkenny resident discovered last month. The cameras have been particularly effective at bottle banks. Two bottle banks which have been notorious litter black spots in the city are yielding on average five fines per week and illegal dumping has notably decreased at both locations. After numerous public complaints about the constant volume of refuse dumped adjacent to the bottle banks in Graiguenamanagh, cameras were recently put in place and have already resulted in eight litter fines. While it is regrettable to take such enforcement action, it is considered necessary as it’s the only sustainable method to combat illegal dumping and teach offenders a hard lesson; it’s cheaper to dispose of your refuse in an appropriate manner through a waste collection service or at an amenity centre than to fly tip your waste and risk being caught and fined.
Illegal dumping on public lands can be reported to Kilkenny County Council on the litter line 1800-200-156. All calls are logged, investigated by the enforcement team and then cleared away. In the current Litter Management Plan, its objectives state that both awareness and enforcement activities will be used to rid the county of litter and the plan acknowledges the requirement of community participation to succeed in achieving a litter free environment. In 2011, the Council spent €1.4 million on litter management and with decreasing central government funds, the responsibility to maintain Kilkenny reputation as being a good place to visit lies partly in the hands of the inhabitants of Kilkenny as they hold the key to keeping it clean and litter free.