Northern Ireland ministers have pledged to ensure that measures to prevent illegal dumping and waste crime are implemented.
The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs committee met at Ebrington on 24 November, where department officials updated them on illegal dumping and waste crime.
Committee chair Linda Dillon said they discussed the disparity between the number of waste crime incidents reported and the “relatively low” number of convictions, fixed penalties and warnings secured.
Following the meeting, they visited the Mobuoy Road waste site, where more than 516,000 tonnes of illegal waste was dumped, to see progress of clean-up work to date.
The dumping at Mobouy prompted a highly critical report on waste crime in 2013 written by Chris Mills, director of the NI Environment Agency’s resource efficiency division, which identified a lack of co-ordination among the authorities tackling the problem.
Dillon said: “If we are to make any headway in terms of tackling and combating this serious issue, we must ensure that the deterrents are effective, appropriate and strongly enforced.
“We realise that there will be no quick fix in terms of resolving waste crime and illegal dumping and that it will require significant time, planning and money to overhaul the existing system.
“This is why the committee intends to make waste management a key priority during the current Assembly mandate.
“We will continue to support, work with and monitor the department to ensure that the appropriate measures to prevent illegal dumping and waste crime are developed and implemented.”
The committee also visited the site for the new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) headquarters in Ballykelly.
In June, Daera funded a competition for companies to develop remediation treatments for illegal waste sites as part of its remedial strategy for Mobuoy.
- Pictured left to right: Sydney Anderson, William Irwin, David Ford, Dillon, Oliver McMullan, Caoimhe Archibald, Edwin Poots, Maurice Bradley, and Harold McKee