Tipperary County Council is the third worst county in Ireland for the regulation and enforcement of waste services, an investigation for RTE has found.
When illegal dumpers pollute the environment, it’s the Irish taxpayer who is left to foot the bill so people rely on their local authorities to regulate a large portion of Ireland's booming waste industry.
The level of investment in waste regulation and enforcement varies significantly depending on the county you live in.
For the last six months RTÉ Investigates went undercover investigating the ever increasing problem of illegal dumping and how councils regulate and prosecute waste offenders.
Ahead of tonight's RTÉ One documentary Ireland’s Wild Waste, RTÉ Investigates analysed environmental data from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing to determine which councils take waste offences seriously and who is left lagging behind for a special online report now available on RTE.ie. www.rte.ie/news/invest igations-unit/
By examining rates of inspections, enforcements, prosecutions and staffing levels between 2014 and 2016 they created a ranking of the best (1) and worst (30) councils at managing the waste industry.
Tipperary County Council is ranked 28th of the 30 councils analysed - where 1 is ranked as the most active council for regulating and enforcing waste services per number of waste permits held in the local authority and 30 as the least active.
Between 2015 and 2016 Tipperary spent €10.64 per person on waste services, €6.59 less than the national average of €17.22.
Tipperary is in the bottom 3 for non routine inspections, the council conducted 294 inspections between 2014 and 2016, over 1,000 inspections less than the national average.
Donegal proved the poorest performing council in Ireland for its inspection rate of its facilities and for its investment in waste services. Between 2014 and 2016 Donegal had just two members of staff to regulate the 44 waste permits in the area.
Between 2015 and 2016 Donegal spent €4.20 per person on waste management, planning and regulation services compared to the national average of €17.22, less than every other local authority compared to the amount of people living there.
Leitrim, the only county in the Republic that borders Donegal, spent €21.24 per person on these areas – five times more than Donegal.
In Meath the council spent €36.87 per person, Longford County Council spent €29.91 per person.
Wicklow came out as the highest performing council in Ireland for managing waste services, between 2014 and 2016 Wicklow completed 6,174 non-routine inspections, four times the national average of 1,371.
According to official statistics returned to the Environmental Protection Agency, local authorities together employ 150 people to regulate and enforce its part of the waste sector. Together these regulate more than 6,000 waste operations; carry out more than 25,000 inspections each year, initiate more than 4,000 enforcement actions and pursue close to 400 prosecutions for waste related crimes annually.
But this level of activity is far from uniform.
You can see more of the report with interactive maps at https://www.rte.ie/news/inv estigations-unit/ and find out the rates in your county.
RTÉ Investigates: Ireland's Wild Waste, hour long documentary tonight (Monday) on RTÉ One at 9.35pm