Some 32% of waste from the Irish Republic estimated to have been dumped in Northern Ireland has been repatriated, new figures have revealed.
The Republic of Ireland’s department of environment, community and local government has spent €7.1m (£5.4m) recovering 80,000 tonnes of waste since the launch of an initiative in 2010.
The project aims to identify and repatriate an estimated 250,000 tonnes of waste that was illegally transported from the Republic and deposited at 17 unlicensed sites in Northern Ireland between 2002 and 2004.
Work at nine sites in County Tyrone, Creevehill Rd, County Down and County Fermanagh has now been completed.
The two jurisdictions reached the framework agreement for the repatriation of the waste in 2009.
The costs of excavation, removal, examination and remediation were apportioned at a rate of 80:20 between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland respectively, with the full costs of disposal met by the Republic.
A spokesperson for the Republic’s department of environment, community and local government said: “While the completion of the programme is ultimately dependent on the availability of resources, the department continues to engage with counterparts from Northern Ireland in an effort to agree flexible and creative solutions to ensure the repatriation process can be completed in a timely manner while delivering value for money and optimal environmental outcomes.”
He added the countries’ authorities were committed to taking legal action against the owners of the sites concerned and the illegal operators.
Evidence collected during the repatriation operations has been made available to both jurisdictions to enable further investigations.