What is Litter?
The definition of litter is quite wide and extends beyond casual pieces of paper or cigarette ends to anything large or small, which is or is likely to become, unsightly.
What can a Local Authority do about Illegal Dumping or Litter?
It is an offence to:
- illegally dump your waste
- give your waste to a collector that does not have a valid waste collection permit
- collect waste without a waste collection permit.
The litter laws have increased the powers of local authorities to combat the problem of illegal dumping of refuse and rubbish. If you see someone dumping illegally, you should report the matter to your local authority who will investigate and take any necessary enforcement action.
Click here to report illegal dumping.
Alternatively, contact Galway City Council on 091-536595 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also report illegal dumping to a 24 hour lo-call telephone number 1850 365 121. Local authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency and an Garda Síochána will follow up on the information given as appropriate. Information that you give can be treated confidentially although you are encouraged to give your contact details as authorities may wish to follow-up with you in relation to the investigation of illegal dumping.
If your local authority finds material that is illegally dumped and establishes the identity of the owner of the material, that person will have a case to answer without necessarily having to be caught in the act. In addition, extra powers are also available to your local authority to require a householder or business operator to indicate how and where they are disposing of their waste. This is particularly relevant if the householder or business owner is not availing of a refuse collection service or is not bringing their waste to an authorised disposal facility.
What is the law in relation to Litter?
The Litter Pollution Act, 1997 brought in tougher litter laws to combat the problems of litter pollution more effectively. The definition of litter is quite wide and extends beyond casual pieces of paper or cigarette ends to anything large or small, which is or is likely to become unsightly.
- Litter Fines
Leaving or throwing litter in a public place is an offence, which can be subject to an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a maximum fine of €3,000 in court.
A person convicted of a litter offence may also be required by the court to pay the local authority's costs and expenses in investigating the offence and bringing the prosecution.
- Owners of Areas that the public have access to & Litter
If you are the owner or the person responsible for a place to which the public has access, you are obliged to keep the place litter free, regardless of how the litter got there. This applies to any public place and may include the precincts of a shopping centre, a school campus, a public park, a train or bus station.
- Litter in the vicinity of a business
A local authority can instruct the occupier of a business to take measures to prevent the creation of litter by his/her business within 100 metres of the business premises. Such measures may include for example the removal of litter and/or the provision of litter bins.
Occupiers of businesses situated beside a public road and within a speed limit area are responsible for keeping the footpath outside their business free of litter, regardless of how it got there. It is an offence to remove litter from a footpath by seeping it or placing it onto the road.
- Private Property & Litter
The owner or occupier of property that can be seen from a public place is obliged to keep it free of litter. Basically, any outdoor area on your property that is visible from a public place must be kept free of litter.
- Litter Black Spots
Where litter has accumulated on property for whatever reason and the litter is visible from a public place, the local authority can issue a notice to the owner or occupier requiring the prompt removal of the litter. Such a notice can also set down precautionary measures to be put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.
If a property owner or occupier fails or refuses to do everything that has been requested, the local authority has the power to do whatever is necessary itself and require the owner or occupier to pay all of the costs involved.
- Illegal Dumping
The litter laws have increased the powers of local authorities to combat the problem of illegal dumping of refuse and rubbish. Where a local authority finds material that is illegally dumped and establishes the identity of the owner of the material, that person will have a case to answer without necessarily having to be caught in the act.
Extra powers are also available to local authorities to require a householder or business operator to indicate how and where they are disposing of their waste. This is particularly relevant if the householder or business owner is not availing of a refuse collection service or bringing their waste to an authorised disposal facility.
If you see someone dumping illegally, report the matter to Galway City Council on (091) 536595 who will investigate and take any necessary enforcement action.
- Major Events & Litter
The promoters or organisers of major events are required to ensure that they have litter control measures in place at the venue and in the surrounding vicinity before, during and after the event. This applies to football matches and other social and sporting events at which large crowds attend. It is possible that this task can be undertaken by the local authority but the promoter/organiser must bear the costs involved.
View further information on how to green your event in our FAQ here.
- Mobile Food Outlets & Litter
Operators of mobile food outlets selling fast food or beverages, or other outlets such as those selling farm produce are obliged to provide suitable litter bins in the vicinity of their outlets. Also, they must clean-up any litter arising from the operation of their outlets within a radius of 100 metres from their outlet.
- Dog Fouling
Dog owners must now remove their pets' waste from public places and dispose of it in a proper manner. This obligation applies to the following places:
- public roads and footpaths
- areas around shopping centres
- school/sports grounds
- the immediate area surrounding another person's house.
- Posters, Signs & Litter
The law forbids the putting up of posters/signs on poles or on other structures in public places unless you have the written permission of the owner of the pole or other structure in advance of putting up the posters/signs.
- Election Posters & Litter
Following an election, a party/candidate must remove posters within a seven-day period. After that date, an on-the-spot fine of €150 is issued by the local authority in respect of each offence. Your local authority will remove the poster and issue a fine. If a party/candidate has been issued with a fine and refuses to pay, they can be prosecuted. The maximum penalty on summary conviction for non-payment of the fine is €3,000.
- Advertising Flyers & Litter
The distribution of advertising flyers in the street in Galway City is prohibited, as is the placing of advertising leaflets on car windscreens. View Galway City Council's bye-laws regarding distribution of advertising material.
- Litter Fines
Will Galway City Council collect rubbish dumped in an industrial estate?
Illegally dumped rubbish in an Industrial Estate can be reported to the Environment Department in Galway City Council. A warden will investigate the dumped rubbish.
However, in a private industrial estate the management company is obligated to dispose of the rubbish. In the case of an industrial estate that is on land that is under the charge of Galway City Council the rubbish will be classified as litter and will be removed by our litter management team under the Litter Pollution Act 1997 or the Waste Management Act.
How do I report Illegal Dumping?
Click here to report illegal dumping.
Alternatively, contact Galway City Council on 091-536400 or by email at email@example.com
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