The Northern Ireland Assembly has called for a public inquiry into regulation of waste in the province amid allegations the industry is highly vulnerable to criminal infiltration.
The debate and support for a motion in support of a public inquiry was prompted by a recent BBC TV programme about an illegal waste site at Mobuoy, near Derry.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said illegal dumping was a widespread problem but he doubted the value of such an inquiry and a criminal investigation was under way in the Mobuoy case.
In June 2013, the then environment minister Alex Attwood, left, revoked the operator’s licence after an estimated 516,000 tonnes of waste were discovered by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in an area adjacent to the River Faughan at Mobuoy.
Attwood commissioned a report from Chris Mills, former director of the Welsh Environment Agency, who found that criminals could attain vast profits and there are “low deterrents”.
As MRW reported in December 2013, Mills called for more robust regulatory activity to stop criminals entering the waste sector, saying the UK and Republic of Ireland were also susceptible to such infiltration.