THE government’s decision to impose a charge on households with septic tanks amounts to a blatant attack on rural dwellers in the north east and across the country, according to Louth Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk.
“The Environment Minister Phil Hogan has confirmed that he intends to hit 440,000 households nationwide with a septic tank registration charge,” deputy Kirk said.
“His climbdown on the value of that charge does not disguise the fact that it is a blatant attack on rural dwellers who are not in a position to avail of urban sewerage schemes.
“Whether this fee is €300 or €50, the bottom line is that it is highly discriminatory. The minister cannot deny that he is penalising homes that are dependent on septic tanks.
“They now have to pay this fee next year on top of the new household charge and the upcoming charges for water use. No matter how the minister Hogan tries to spin it, it’s blatant double taxation for rural householders.
Mr Kirk said other jurisdictions have avoided inflicting the cost onto households. In Scotland septic tanks have to be registered but the households do not have to pay and there are no mandatory inspections. In Northern Ireland inspection costs are borne by the environment agency. Deputy Kirk accepts that the European Commission has set down rules for septic tanks but says it’s unfair to throw this directly onto rural communities while urban households are exempt.