Dáil Éireann - Volume 339 - 27 January, 1983

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Litter Act, 1982, Implementation.

6. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for the Environment how he proposes to provide the finances which would enable local authorities to implement the provisions of the Litter Act, 1982 particularly since local authorities are finding it difficult to maintain even present standards.

[584] Mr. Quinn: Implementation of the Litter Act, 1982, does not in fact require large scale additional expenditure. Local authorities already spend considerably, and employ workforces, on street cleaning and waste collection and disposal and in some cases on publicity and other campaigns. Over the years various measures have been taken to prevent and control litter using the powers then available. The Act strengthens the powers to control litter and related offences and this should lead to a reduction in these problems and in the need for local authority spending on cleaning-up operations.

Under the Litter Regulations, 1982, moneys accruing to local authorities under the Act — for example from fines-on-the-spot or from charges — are available to them as an offset against costs involved. Substantial funds have also been allocated to local authorities for environmental improvement works.

In these circumstances I do not believe that it is unreasonable to expect local authorities to meet the modest expenditure that implementation of the Act involves. I am not aware of any special financial provision being made or contemplated by the previous Government for implementation of the Act, which came into operation on 1 August 1982.

Mr. Coughlan: In connection with the implementation of this scheme I would not accept that the local authorities have adequate finances to implement the provisions of the Act.

An Ceann Comhairle: A question, please, Deputy.

Mr. Coughlan: Having regard to the fact that it was a Fianna Fáil administration which introduced this Act would the Minister consider assessing from individual local authorities whether they can provide better or even adequate refuse collection within their existing finances?

Mr. Quinn: I will certainly undertake that assessment with local authorities. I might clarify what the Deputy is actually [585] asking: is he suggesting that we inquire from each local authority whether they are satisfied with the existing system of refuse collection, not necessarily litter?

Mr. Coughlan: Yes.

Mr. Quinn: We will look into it.