Green Party TD Steven Matthews has welcomed news that local authorities will soon be permitted to use CCTV cameras, that are compliant with data protection legislation – to identify people who illegally dump waste. This is one aspect of a new law – the Circular Economy Bill 2022 that will bring in a suite of measures that puts into law many of the commitments the Government has made in the Waste Action Plan. Discussing the news, Deputy Matthews said:
“Bringing in CCTV has been something that many residents have been seeking for years but prior to this new law which will take effect in the coming months, local authorities’ hands were tied by Data Protection rules. This prevented the use of cameras to identify people that illegally dump waste either at a smaller domestic level or those who dump industrial style waste, which causes huge amount of damage to our environment but also costs a fortune to have this waste professionally removed. This was hugely frustrating as without this tool, it’s very difficult to identify the perpetrators unless they are caught in the act or leave identifying material behind them.
“The impact of litter and fly-tipped waste on the environment, and often our most beautiful locations, is a blight on our community. We need to empower the local authority, who is responsible for waste management and enforcement, to target these practices and penalise those responsible. The Circular Economy Bill, brought before the Dáil, will finally make this possible while also protecting the privacy rights of the public.
“I am frequently contacted by residents from across Wicklow who have serious issues with illegal dumping near their homes and its incredibly unfair for people who are doing the right thing to have to deal with the illegal behaviour of a small minority. To their credit, Wicklow County Council are extremely responsive and generally very quick to come and remove waste when its reported but the additional benefit of using CCTV cameras will be that they will also act as a preventative measure by discouraging illegal dumping.
“I have also been working with the Pure Mile Project to secure funding for the coming years to work with rural communities to tackle illegal dumping. I look forward to working with Pure Mile and Wicklow County Council to identify the areas that need to be prioritised for CCTV across Wicklow. If anyone has any specific locations that are persistent problems for illegal dumping, I would encourage them to get in touch with me directly and I would be happy to work with the council on their behalf, concluded Deputy Matthews.