Wexford County Council (WCC) has been praised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for implementing a closed circuit television camera (CCTV) monitoring system at bins across the county.

A Pilot scheme run by WCC using and comparing two different types of CCTV to monitor illegal waste at bottle banks has yielded some informative results, the EPA stated in a new report.

WCC hired two cameras from a surveillance company.  The company, Visiconnex, offers 24-hour monitoring and every week it sends a DVD to the Environment section of the Council with all the potential evidence recorded by its cameras. WCC decided on using a fixed, hidden camera located in an elevated position over 6 of the bottle banks.  The second camera was a mobile camera positioned in an unmarked van which was parked at the bottle bank.

Officer Hugh Maguire explained that WCC decided to use a three scaled approach to deal with offenders at the bottle banks.  The penalties included issuing offenders with a warning letter, then a €125 litter fine.  If someone dumps household waste WCC now seeks a prosecution in court.

In the eight months that the scheme has been running, over €20,000 in litter fines have been paid.  Litter fines issued with CCTV evidence have yielded a higher payment for the Council, while one case is before the court for dumping household waste at a bring bank.

The result of this hard-line approach against litter bugs has been a noticeable reduction in littering at bottle that had or have CCTV.

The EPA (which is based in Johnstown Castle) said the cameras used by Visiconnex were of a high enough resolution to be able to identify Dumpers, without requiring supporting evidence.