Local Government (Water Pollution) Act, 1977

Powers of entry, inspection etc.

28.—(1) Subject to this section, an authorised person may at any reasonable time enter premises or vessels for the purposes of—

(a) performance of a function conferred under this Act on a local authority, a sanitary authority, the Minister, the Minister for Fisheries or a board of conservators,

(b) ascertaining whether such a function should be performed,

(c) ascertaining whether there is or has been a contravention of any provision of this Act or of any regulations under this Act, or

(d) carrying out such inspection and taking such samples of waters, effluents or other matter as may be necessary for the performance of such a function under this Act.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), the power of entry to premises or vessels conferred by that subsection may be exercised at any time in relation to a function conferred by section 13.

(3) In any legal proceedings under this Act it shall be presumed until the contrary is shown that any sample of effluent taken by an authorised person at an inspection chamber or manhole or other place provided under and in accordance with a licence under this Act is a sample of what was passing from the premises, works, apparatus, plant or drainage pipe concerned to waters or a sewer at the time the sample was taken.

(4) A person who obstructs an authorised person in the performance of his duties under this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £250 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(5) The Minister may make regulations for the purpose of this section and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such regulations may—

(a) provide for the taking of samples and the carrying out of tests, examinations and analyses of samples taken under this section,

(b) prescribe the classes of persons to be responsible for taking such samples and for the carrying out of such tests, examinations and analyses,

(c) prescribe the certificate or other evidence to be given of the result of any such test, examination or analysis and the classes of persons by and to whom such certificate or evidence is to be given,

(d) provide that any certificate or other evidence prescribed under paragraph (c) and given in respect of the test, examination or analysis of a sample shall in relation to that sample be sufficient evidence of the result of the test, examination or analysis until the contrary is shown.

(6) (a) A person authorised under this section to enter premises or vessels shall, if so required, produce evidence of his authority before so entering and may take with him such other persons and such equipment as may be necessary.

(b) Entry to any premises or vessel used exclusively for residential purposes, and entry with heavy equipment to any other land, shall not, except for the purpose of exercising a function conferred by section 13, be made under this section unless seven days' notice in writing of the intended entry has been given to the occupier.

(c) Any person who in the exercise of his powers under this section enters any premises or vessel which is unoccupied or from which the occupier is temporarily absent shall leave the premises or vessel as effectually secured against trespassers as he found it.

(7) (a) Where it is shown to the satisfaction of a justice of the District Court on sworn information in writing—

(i) that admission to any premises or vessel which any person is entitled to enter under this section has been refused to that person or that refusal is apprehended, and

(ii) that there is reasonable ground for the entry for the purpose for which entry is required;

the justice may by warrant under his hand authorise that person to enter the premises or vessel.

(b) A warrant granted under this subsection shall continue in force until the purpose for which entry is required has been satisfied.

(8) A prosecution for an offence under this section may be taken by the Minister for Fisheries, a local authority, a sanitary authority, a board of conservators or the Minister.

(9) In this section—

“authorised person” means a person who is appointed by a local authority, a sanitary authority, the Minister, the Minister for Fisheries or a board of conservators to be an authorised person for the purposes of this Act.