Call for waste collection to be brought back under council control

by Mark O'Brien
Cllr Ruth Nolan has criticised councillors for appealing the Clonburris plan to An Bord Pleanala

South Dublin County Councillors have passed a motion calling for the management of waste collection to be returned to council control.

The council relinquished control of waste collection in 2007, with a number of private operators now running services in the county area.

But some local representatives have been critical of the privatisation of the service, saying that it has led to an increase in illegal dumping.

Cllr Ruth Nolan (Ind), who brought the motion before the council, told Dublin Gazette that she believes waste collection should be a public service.

She said: “My take on refuse collection is it’s a public health service that needs to be supplied for health and hygiene purposes and therefore it should be paid for through our general taxation, as opposed to being there for profit making.”

Cllr Nolan said she had been contacted by a number of residents who have had issues with refuse collection and also with increased fly-tipping in the local area.

“We have a problem of fly-tipping which is costing into the millions now.

“We have the possibility of charges now for our recycling, which is defeating the purpose of recycling because at that rate, people are just going to throw everything into the black bin. There’s no incentive to recycle.

“That’s where I feel profit margins come in. If it was a public service, profits wouldn’t be the target.”

South Dublin County Council is the second council to pass a motion calling for the return of waste management to council control.

In March, Fingal County Council passed a similar motion.

Both councils will now write to Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten calling for the return of refuse collection to council control.

Cllr Nolan said she hoped other councils would follow suit and call on the Minister to take action on the issue.

Concerns have been raised before about how private companies are operating waste collection services.

In October 2017, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) commenced a formal study into the household waste collection market in Ireland.

A spokesperson for the CCPC told Dublin Gazette the study will consider if the introduction of an enhanced regulatory regime could efficiently address any consumer and operator issues identified in the short and long term.

The CCPC’s report is due to be published later this summer.

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