EPA launches 24
hour phone service
of illegal dumping encouraged
The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has unveiled details of a confidential telephone service
designed to encourage reporting of illegal dumping of waste or of
abandoned illegal dumps.
As part of a campaign entitled - 'Dump the
Dumpers' - members of the public can report illegal dumping
via a 24 hour lo-call telephone number 1850 365 121.
Local authorities, An Garda Siochána and the EPA will follow
up on the information provided by the public, as appropriate.
The focus of the campaign will be to identify large-scale
dumping sites that may still be operational or any remaining abandoned
illegal dumps. However, the new phone service will also allow members
of the public to report larger fly-tipping activities - such as
sites used for habitual fly-tipping of waste - which have become
a scourge of many rural communities in particular.
The 'Dump the Dumpers' campaign is
the latest initiative by the Environmental Enforcement Network -
which includes the EPA, all local authorities, An Garda Siochána
and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
The service compliments current local authority litter phone lines,
which are being actively used by the public to report littering
and small scale fly-tipping activities.
Launching the campaign, Minister for the Environment,
Heritage and Local Government, Mr Dick Roche said - "I regard this
latest initiative as another vital piece of the jigsaw and, perhaps,
a final turning point in the battle in dealing with illegal activities.
I appeal to the public to avail of this new illegal dumping line,
particularly where they have worries that large-scale dumping is
about to take place or has just commenced. My hope is that this
new information line service will further step-up efforts to pursue
those breaking the law and, thereby, lead to better protection of
Commenting, Dr Mary Kelly, Director General, EPA
said - "Substantial progress has been made in identifying and
dealing with large scale illegal dumping in Ireland. However, challenges
remain - including tackling and stamping outfly-tipping of waste.
We want to hear from the general public about sites that are used
habitually for fly-tipping and illegal dumping of waste - including
information on the dumpers themselves - so that action can be taken
against them. Illegal dumping of waste is an environmental crime
and must be recognised as such and those responsible brought before
Dr Matt Crowe, Programme Manager, EPA, said - "At
a time when so much community effort is devoted to environmental
protection through tidy towns and various recycling activities,
these efforts are being undermined by a small minority engaged in
illegal activity. By lo-calling 1850 365 121, the public can fight
back for the environment and the members of the environmental enforcement
network would greatly welcome their assistance in doing so."
Garda Assistant Commissioner, Martin Callinan, welcomed
the establishment of the illegal dumping line and said - "Illegal
dumping is a serious environmental crime and An Garda Síochána is
committed to working with the EPA and local authorities to tackle
the problem and bring those responsible for illegal dumping to justice.
Information received through this new phone line should help the
authorities get to grips with the problem."
The 'Dump the Dumpers' campaign is being
launched on a pilot basis for six months. It will be supported by
a national and regional press and radio campaign over the coming
In its report - The
Nature and Extent of Unauthorised Waste Activity - published
in September, 2005, the Office of Environmental Enforcement identified
the need for a special national phone line to allow members of the
public to report information to the authorities about illegal dumping
of waste. The concept has been developed during the past year in
consultation with both the local authorities and An Garda Síochána
through the Environmental Enforcement Network.
It is being launched as a joint initiative of the
EPA, the local authorities and An Garda Siochána. The phone
line - operational from Wednesday 28th June, 2006 - will be run
on a pilot basis for a period of six months and will be staffed
round the clock. It is being operated on behalf of the EPA by the
Securway Group and Emergency Response Limited, based in Bunclody,
It is very difficult to predict the number and type
of calls that the system will receive and it is necessary to operate
the system for a period of time to establish this type of information.
During the course of the pilot, the relative usefulness of the phone
line will be evaluated and decisions made on its future. A monitoring
group has been established to oversee the implementation of the
phone line - with representation from the EPA, local authorities
and An Garda Siochána and this group will review options
upon completion of the pilot.
The phone line will serve two main purposes -
- Members of the public will be able to report, on a confidential
basis if necessary, suspicions about illegal dumping both past
and present. This information will be followed up and checked
by the enforcement authorities (local authorities, the Office
of Environmental Enforcement and An Garda Siochána) through
the Environmental Enforcement Network. This will allow the enforcement
authorities to gather - on an on-going basis - information about
illegal waste activity and to act on this information. Experience
in other countries (e.g. England and Scotland) suggests that a
national phone-line for reporting illegal waste activity is -
and will continue to be - a central plank in the fight against
illegal waste activity.
- Serious incidents of illegal dumping (e.g., the contents of
a 40 foot trailer being dumped in a field or the dumping of diesel
laundering waste) would be reported immediately to An Garda Siochána
and the relevant local authority so that activities can be investigated
as appropriate. The relaying of information to the Gardaí will
be carefully controlled and monitored and only cases that are
of significant scale and warrant immediate attention will be passed
on to them. This will be achieved by putting a coordinator in
place who will, among other things, double-check and authorise
any incidents that are to be reported to An Garda Siochána.
This phone line will compliment and build on existing local authority
litter hotlines and will offer the public a single point of contact
to report information about the more serious incidents of illegal
dumping of waste, both past and present. Complaints about littering
and small-scale fly-tipping should still be made to local authorities,
using their existing litter lines - although any information received
though the Illegal Dumping Line will be passed on to the relevant
How the Illegal Dumping Line works
The system will work as follows -
- Calls will be answered round the clock and seven days a week
(i.e. callers will talk to a real person, not an answering machine).
- The operators will take down the details of the complaint and
pass on the details to the coordinator.
- The coordinator will determine the relative importance of complaints
received and the investigating authority to which complaints should
- During normal business hours (9.00 am to 5.00 pm), complaints
and information of an urgent nature will be passed directly to
either the relevant local authority, An Garda Siochána
or the EPA. All other complaints will be forwarded to the local
authority/EPA the following day.
- Outside normal business hours, details will be logged and forwarded
to the local authority or the EPA the following working day (e.g.
complaints and information of a non-urgent nature received over
a week-end will be forwarded to the relevant authority the following
- Complaints of an urgent nature reported out of hours will be
reported, through the coordinator, to An Garda Siochána,
the relevant local authority or the EPA - depending on the nature
of the complaint.
It will be possible to provide information on a confidential basis.
However, callers will be encouraged to provide their contact details,
so that the authorities can - if necessary - follow-up with them
in relation to the information supplied to assist them with any
Dump the Dumpers
lo-call telephone number 1850 365 121