Local authorities will be empowered to use enhanced CCTV to detect and prevent unsightly and illegal dumping and littering under a new bill approved by Cabinet on Wednesday.

The circular economy bill will discourage fly-tipping which the Government says is a “blight across the country”.

It is understood the provision will enable the installation of CCTV in areas where it is not already in place, including some rural areas.

The new bill will ensure that the processing of personal data may be carried out by local authorities tasked with enforcing litter and waste law.

The objective of this will be to provide an important deterrent in relation to littering and illegal dumping while at the same time, respecting the privacy rights of citizens through “robust safeguards”.

Sustainable consumption

The wider bill, announced on Wednesday, will underpin Ireland’s shift from a “take-make-waste” linear model to a more sustainable pattern of production and consumption that will instead minimise waste to help significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This bill aims to stop the wasteful pattern of using valuable resources once and then just binning them

The new legislation will aim to extend the use and value of products and materials for as long as possible by creating “further useful products”.

Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy Ossian Smyth TD said: “This bill aims to stop the wasteful pattern of using valuable resources once and then just binning them. From discouraging the use of single-use items, to improving the process for allowing recycled materials onto the market, this legislation will support the development of sustainable products and business models across the economy.”

Mandatory segregation

The circular economy bill also introduces a mandatory segregation and incentivised charging regime for commercial waste, including that from farm and other agri-food businesses.

Fly-tipping is a blight across the country, says Cabinet.

At present, it is possible for such commercial premises to dispose of their waste through a single, unsegregated, bin. This will no longer be possible under the changes being introduced by the bill, forcing premises to manage their waste in a segregated manner.

Government predicts that better segregation and incentivised pricing, with recycling bins having lower charges than general waste bins, should also ultimately save these businesses money.

Food waste

It also places the Circular Economy Strategy and National Food Loss Prevention Roadmap on a statutory footing, establishing a legal requirement for the government to develop and periodically update these two policies.

This will bolster measures already underway to reduce food waste from the agri-food supply chain.

Other measures incorporated in the bill include a phasing out of single use coffee cups and the introduction of prohibitions on exploration for and the extraction of coal, lignite and oil shale.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD described the publication of the bill as a “landmark moment”.

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