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Litter Management Plans


The Aims of the Assessment Procedure

The Current Status of National Litter Management Planning

The Assessment Protocol


Under the Litter Pollution Act, 1997, each local authority is required to adopt a litter management plan (LMP). The legislation prescribes the specific minimum components of a LMP, requiring information on litter prevention and control activities and the setting of appropriate objectives and targets for the three-year period covered by the Plan. These statutory elements form the backbone of an effective LMP.

The Aims of the Assessment Procedure

One of the key tasks of the Litter Monitoring Body has been to assess the Litter Management Plans prepared to-date by the local authorities. There are three main reasons for this assessment exercise:

  • To assess Litter Management Plans with respect to the core functions prescribed for such Plans under the Litter Pollution Act, 1997, and to determine how local authorities have discharged those functions;
  • To ascertain whether or not the current Litter Management Plans act as appropriate frameworks for the anti-litter activities to be undertaken by the local authorities over the succeeding three years; and
  • To identify best practice as regards litter management planning in this country. This will ensure that future Plans benefit from the experience gained by all of the authorities across the country.

The Current Status of National Litter Management Planning

The first or benchmark assessment of LMPs was carried out in 2000 - a total of 78 local authorities had their LMPs assessed. This assessment was timely, given that many local authorities were due to review their LMPs in accordance with the 3 year review period prescribed in the 1997 Act. Local authorities therefore had the opportunity to review/amend their LMP in accordance with its assessment to establish the basis for more effective litter management planning in their areas.

For the full report of the 2008 assessment please click here (358k)

For the full report of the 2004 assessment please click here (670k)
For the full report of the 2000 assessment please click here (513k)

A total of 34 local authorities have submitted their LMP for assessment in 2004, including those local authorities that did not submit their LMPs for review the first time around.

The Assessment Protocol

A detailed Assessment Protocol was designed by the Litter Monitoring Body (in consultation with the project's Steering Group) for the purposes of the assessment procedure. This Protocol, containing almost ninety questions, was devised by combining the most salient legislative requirements with the planning aspects of the Environmental Management System approach. It should be noted that the Protocol is structured in-line with the elements of an Environment Management System, such as ISO 14001.

Specifically, the protocol combines elements of:

  • The Litter Pollution Act, 1997;
  • The guidance produced by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government - 'Action Against Litter'; and
  • The Litter Monitoring Body's interpretation of the intent/ spirit of the Litter Pollution Act, 1997 and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government's guidance document.

There are two separate parts to the protocol - one aimed at statutory compliance and one aimed at encouraging local authorities to incorporate "best practice" in their LMPs. Part A of the protocol is a checklist relating to the requirements prescribed in the Litter Pollution Act, 1997. Local authorities whose LMPs are non-compliant in respect to any of the elements of Part A of the protocol are expected to address those deficiencies in the next review of their LMP to ensure that their amended or new Plan is in full compliance with the requirements of the Litter Pollution Act, 1997. Part B relates to the non-statutory aspects of litter management planning and provides local authorities with a range of options for action that they may include in their LMPs.

Statutory Requirements

Part A of the Assessment Protocol is comprised of 57 questions that are broken down into five sections as follows:

  • Policy and Commitment - This section assesses the overall policy direction and role of the local authority in relation to the litter management planning of its area;
  • Planning - This assesses whether a local authority has identified the nature, extent, causes and location of litter problems which must be tackled;
  • Legislative Requirements - This determines whether a LMP is fully compliant with the requirements of the Litter Pollution Act, 1997;
  • Objectives and Targets - This section assesses the Plan's objectives and targets for the prevention and control of litter i.e. that they are specific, measurable and realistic; and
  • Management Programme and Measures - assesses the programmes and measures set out in the LMP to achieve its objectives and targets.

Best Practice

Part B is comprised of 30 questions that are broken down into the following four sections:

  • Structure and Responsibilities - this section assesses the adequacy of the staff, practices and resources allocated by local authorities to implement the programmes and measures identified in their LMP;
  • Training and Awareness - This section relates to staff training, especially staff dealing directly with the public e.g. litter wardens, and staff awareness of a local authority's LMP;
  • Communication and Documentation - One of the key aims of Litter Management Plans is to inform and educate the public as to litter management practices in their area; and
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response - assesses the measures to cope with litter problems arising from major public events, litter black spots and non standard working hours.


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