Laois CCTV cameras erected around the county to catch dumpers cannot be used until 2022, but there could be another way to legally use them, suggested by a Laois councillor.
The camera equipment bought by the council and placed in dumping hotspots needs a change of the law to be permitted in court, with the law not expected to be in place until 2022.
However Cllr Aidan Mullins from Portarlington is suggesting a way around the snag.
“We’ve been told the use of CCTV is not compatible with waste management and litter pollution acts, but the data protection officer Helen Dixon has said that cameras can be installed and legally used if installed under the Garda Síochána act. Can the council confirm this?,” he asked.
Cllr Caroline Dwane agrees.
“If we can engage with the Gardaí, it’s vital. We badly need cameras in areas of illegal dumping,” she said.
Director of Services Simon Walton said that a new Waste Management bill is due at the end of 2021.
“We are in hiatus until then. I note those powers under the Garda act and I will follow that up,” he said.
Laois County Council’s environment department had to change their annual “Clean Up Laois Week” this year because of Covid restrictions.
They gave out 64 packs of litter pickers, gloves and bags this year to Tidy Towns groups, community groups, GAA clubs and members of the public, and took away the they gathered.
They praised the many groups who held clean-ups while observing social distancing rules within the 5km zone.
Council staff also cleared illegal waste from the Rock of Dunamase, Knockmay, St Brigid’s and O’Moore Place in Portlaoise, from Clonenagh Bog, The Heath, Clonkeen, Straboe, Ballyfin, Portarlington, Ballybrittas, Emo, Ballyadams, and Killeshin since February.
Cllr John King says the battle is being lost.
“Tidy Towns are losing the battle on dumping. I’d like to see the money spent on bags and litter pickers put into cameras. We have to take people to court and fine them and publish their names,” he said.