Waste streams arising in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) such as household and commercial, construction and demolition and car frag are being deposited illegally with increasing regularity in the six counties which are part of the United Kingdom.
The implications of this practice have created concern. A Department of the Environment spokeswoman said: The main impact of illegal movement of waste from RoI would be the accelerated use of limited landfill capacity.
Permitted landfill capacity in NI is based on projected arisings of waste unsuitable for recovery. If waste continues to make its way across the border to NI landfill sites, there could be a shortage of capacity for NI waste.
However, the situation is being tackled with a hard-line approach in NI and five cases have been taken to the Crown Court recently and have resulted in convictions.
A further nine significant cases are either due for trial or are being prepared for court while several more involving RoI waste are currently being heard at the Magistrates Court.
The two Crown Court cases that have had sentencing to date have resulted in terms of imprisonment of nine and six months and a RoI construction and demolition firm was fined £12,500 at the Magistrates court.
The Environment and Health Service (EHS) [NI] has been working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [RoI] on cross-border operations and in assisting EPA with their investigations into the source of the waste.
EHS has also been working with other enforcement agencies as inevitably this type of crime has been linked to organised crime and serious crime, added the spokeswoman.
She also said that opportunities are being missed to recover materials that are illegally transported while recycling and landfill tonnages are likely to be lower than they should be in the RoI.