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NI officers target illegal waste carriers


The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has carried out three days of action to combat waste crime, focusing on border checks, vehicles and ports.

Between 17 and 19 May, the agency carried out joint vehicle stop and check operations and waste site inspections working with the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) and Dublin City Council.

These were planned to coincide with similar operations in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and England.

The road checks, which concentrated on vehicles carrying waste or commercial vehicles that could be carrying waste in the Newry area, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland, was carried out jointly with the DVA. 

Agency officers stopped one illegal waste movement, resulting in the return of the waste to the Republic, pending further enforcement action.

Dublin council and NIEA officers carried out port checks in Larne and Belfast, where one minor infringement of duty of care legislation was found. The agency said this will result in the company receiving an advisory letter.

Inspections were also carried out at several waste management facilities in Belfast and Newry where no issues were found.

Derek Williamson, head of NIEA’s controls and operation unit, said: “This was a successful operation and is part of our ongoing campaign to crack down on illegal waste activity, and in support of the other organisations we routinely work with.

“The NIEA works closely with partner enforcement organisations to identify and stop illegal waste movements. We will always seek take action against illegal waste movements and deposits and those who risk polluting the environment or undercutting legitimate businesses.”

A 2013 report by Chris Mills into waste crime in Northern Ireland criticised a lack of co-ordination between agencies and warned that organised crime was rife in the waste sector. In 2014 the Department of Environment promised to pursue a co-ordinated campaign.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, a father and son from County Down received suspended custodial sentences for waste offences.

James Massey and his son Mark were both sentenced to five months, suspended for three years, at Downpatrick Crown Court on 23 May.

Their offences related to the unlicensed treating, keeping and depositing of controlled wastes.

James Massey had previously been found guilty on three counts of breaching the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, while Mark pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching the order and was found guilty of a further two charges.

Both defendants, who operated a skip hire business, had previously been made the subject of a joint £47,000 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for the waste offences.

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