- Laying down the law
- Public places
- Property owners/occupiers
- Litter black spots
- Advertising flyers
- Presenting your refuse for collection
- Who enforces the litter laws?
- Major events
- Mobile food outlets
- Dog fouling
- Posters and signs
- Litter Management Plan
- Litter control
Litter And The Law: Know your responsibilities for taking action against litter. The Litter Management Acts 1997 - 2003, brought in tougher litter laws to combat the problems of litter pollution more effectively. For further information contact Environment Section, Ennis Town Council, or obtain a copy of the Litter Pollution Acts 1997 - 2003 from the Government Publications Office, 4/5 Harcourt Road, Dublin 2. Tel. (01) 647 6000.
Leaving or throwing litter in a public place or in any place that is visible from a public place is an offence. This includes creating litter in the carrying on of a business, trade or activity or in loading, transporting or handling anything. Offenders can be subject to an on-the-spot fine of €150 or a maximum fine of €3,000 in court. 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. 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.
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 which may include the precincts of a shopping centre, a school campus, a public park, a train or bus station.
The owner or occupier of property which 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. In addition, if you occupy land/premises along a public road in a built up area, you are required to keep the footpaths, pavements or grass verges in front of your property free of litter.
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 recurrence. 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. Local authorities can use similar powers to target mobile outlets, certain types of premises, major events and articles/advertisements on certain structures, to prevent and control litter.
The placing of advertising leaflets on car windscreens is prohibited and if you are proposing to distribute advertising leaflets in the street, you should first check with the local authority to see if they have introduced any local litter restrictions, which they are entitled to do.
Taking a few small precautions in the way you present your refuse for collection, whether household refuse, commercial or industrial waste, will help enormously in preventing the creation of litter.
Local authorities are responsible for implementing the litter laws in their own areas. This means they are responsible for the prevention and control of litter and they have the power to take enforcement action against individuals who break or ignore these laws. Gardaí also have the power to issue on-the-spot fines for litter offences.
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.
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 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
Guide dogs and working dogs (handling livestock, Garda and custom and excise dogs) are exempt.
The law forbids the putting up of posters/signs on poles or on other structures in public places. Ennis Town Council has a policy regarding the erection of signs on the approach roads for once off travelling events such as plays, circus & exhibitions. A bond of €1,000 is lodged and a form is signed which outlines the dates and locations of the aforementioned signs. A copy of the public liability insurance of the applicant is also required.
Each local authority is obliged to prepare a litter management plan for its own area. This plan sets out their objectives to prevent and control litter as well as measures to encourage public awareness. The plan must also set out the measures and arrangements by which they intend to achieve their objectives. In preparing a litter management plan, the local authority is obliged to consult with local community and voluntary interests before a plan is adopted by the council members.
The local authority is responsible for keeping public places under their control, including public roads, clear of litter as far as is practicably possible.
Page last updated: 24/02/12