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The Government is to charge all householders including holiday homes to have septic tanks inspected.

Householders with a septic tank will have to pay a registration fee of no more than €50, said Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

Mr Hogan said it was a modest payment and said that following the initial registration householders would not be required to register their systems for several years. He said it could be five years between each registration.

The minister accused the farmers union the IFA and opposition politicians and others of using scare tactics in suggesting that a fee of €300 could be demanded by the Government.

However homeowners who have old-style tanks will be forced to replace them – costing up to €5,000.