AQW 33893/11-15

Mr Peter Weir
Democratic Unionist Party
North Down

Tabled Date: 04/06/2014
Answered On Date: 18/06/2014
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of the Environment for an update on the action taken to tackle illegal dumping sites.

Revised Answer:
Tackling illegal dumping, and the organised criminality associated with it, is one of my Department’s key priorities. Working alongside local government we must be vigilant in challenging those who deliberately set out to make money by putting the health and well being of individuals and communities at risk.
Following publication of the Mills Report into the discovery of a major illegal landfill site at Mobuoy last year, my Department has drawn up an operational strategy and action plan to tackle the problems of illegal waste at their source. This means working closely with councils to monitor their contractual arrangements for the management and disposal of their waste so that we can then follow up on any areas that give rise for concern as to the ultimate destination of the waste involved. This will mean closer scrutiny of council contractors and requirements for them to provide information as to any further sub contracts they may enter into for the further processing and transport of the waste they have received.
In addition to this, the Department is continuing its actions against illegal dumping where it is discovered. . There are currently 31 ongoing investigations, involving 37 locations and most of most of these focus on illegal waste management and dumping. Such dumping includes illegal landfill sites, products associated with fuel laundering, end of life vehicles and waste tyres.
I do not underestimate the nature and scale of the challenge we face here. There are substantial financial gains to be had by those prepared to put the health ands well being of our communities at risk and damage the environment through their illegal activities. They also put at risk the jobs and futures of those waste operators who seek to secure the gains for our local economy that can be had through a legitimate waste sector.
My officials will therefore continue to work closely with colleagues in other enforcement agencies especially developing a new partnership approach with local councils on the overall management of waste. On the enforcement side, there is a Strategic Partnership with the PSNI for joint work on the prevention of illegal dumping and action to apprehend and convict those responsible for such activities.