Spies in the sky help councils catch fly-tippers in the act

Eighteen local authorities are using drones to combat illegal dumping, enforce building regulations and help emergency services during incidents.

The move by councils to buy and hire the flying devices comes after an anti-dumping initiative, launched by the government in 2017. Councils using drones include Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Dublin city, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, South Dublin, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow.

Limerick and Leitrim own the most drones — they have four each. Leitrim also uses a fixed-wing drone, which cost nearly €25,000 and can fly for longer and travel faster than a multi-rotor drone.

Denis Tierney, a spokesman for Limerick city and county council, said drones had helped to combat illegal dumping. “You can cover a large area in a short time,” he said. “The areas where the drones are used would otherwise be difficult to access. The drones also allow for improved safety of staff as they now don’t have to enter risky areas.

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The Sunday Times