Councils will be allowed to use drones, dashcam and bodycam footage to tackle illegal dumping and littering under new powers agreed by the Government.
ootage from fixed cameras installed at known dumping spots will also be usable as evidence against offenders.
The Cabinet backed the moves as part of a series of measures aimed at preventing and tackling waste.
Local authorities are unable to use surveillance footage in prosecutions because of data protection issues. Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said the new rules would provide for the GDPR-compliant use of a range of fixed and mobile recording devices.
The powers are contained in draft legislation, the Circular Economy Bill, the outline of which was agreed yesterday.
It also provides for the so-called latte levy, a mandatory charge on disposable coffee cups and other non-reusable containers used to serve food and drinks.
A price has not been specified, but up to 25c per cup or item was previously discussed. The draft only puts a cap on the charge, saying it will be no more than €1 per item.
Businesses failing to apply the charge will run up interest charges at a daily rate of 0.0322pc from the date on which they sold the item. Prolonged failure to comply will be a criminal offence.
Money raised through the levies will go into a new Circular Economy Fund to support waste prevention initiatives. The levy is an attempt to discourage use of disposable coffee cups, 200 million of which were dumped every year in Ireland before Covid.
A full ban could follow, as the draft says: “The minister may, with the consent of the Government, and with an appropriate lead-in time and in such circumstances where reusable alternatives are available, make regulations providing that the sale or use of certain single-use products identified shall be prohibited.”
Other levies will apply to waste management firms that send waste for recovery, which means using it as fuel for industry or incinerating it.
The levy, possibly €5 per tonne, will apply to waste recovered in Ireland and the hundreds of thousands of tonnes shipped abroad.
The bill will also require efforts to be stepped up to provide all households with segregated waste services.
Many apartment dwellers and rural homes do not have a brown bin for food scraps and other organic waste.
Much of the detail of the measures will be set out in regulations to follow.
The minister said it was necessary to transform the approach to production and consumption.
“It is vital that waste and resource use are minimised by default; that good design preserves product value for as long as possible, via durability and repair, and that, when a product has reached the end of its life, its parts can be readily used again and again to create further useful products,” he said.
Mr Ryan is also using the bill to tidy up aspects of fossil fuel mining regulations. Once enacted, the legislation will prohibit the granting of any prospecting licence for coal, lignite or oil shale.