Strabane down in dumps as worst of six council areas for fly-tipping
The Co Tyrone district of Strabane has been labelled the fly-tipping capital of Northern Ireland with 827 incidences recorded there last year — more than double that of the next worst area.
According to figures compiled for 2010/11, the next worst area for fly-tipping was Newtownabbey, where there were 427 incidences.
This was followed by Larne at 201; 159 in Ballymena; 122 in Armagh, and 39 in Banbridge.
However, these six are the only councils which signed up to the database, operated by a company called Flycapture and managed by the Environment Agency.
The database does not include incidences at 20 other councils where the problem may be even worse.
Independent councillor at Strabane, Eugene McMenamin, stressed that the figures do not tell the full story because so few councils are recording information.
He added, however, that Strabane council's biggest expenditure every year is on waste management.
He said: “If we had figures for all 26 councils, Strabane may not top the poll, but this is still totally unacceptable and will not be allowed to continue.
“Every council in Northern Ireland spends a large slice of its budget on waste management and too much money is being spent unnecessarily on clearing up after illegal dumps.
“Twice a year Strabane offers a spring cleaning service for large household items, be that washing machines, furniture or machinery where we will collect and dispose of these large items free of charge. For a nominal fee throughout the year, a pick-up service is available, so it is unacceptable and totally unnecessary to fly-tip.
“It beggars belief that someone would go to the extreme lengths they do to illegally dispose of these goods when a simple phone call to your local council will get it sorted for you. I do know that Strabane Council intends to take action against anyone found fly-tipping and they will face the courts and huge fines.
“As well as being unsightly and in some cases dangerous, it is very detrimental to the environment. The people who are unscrupulous enough to fly-tip in the first place are not interested about the damage they could be causing to the land they are dumping on.”
Environment Minister Alex Attwood has called on the remaining 20 councils in Northern Ireland to start recording the number of incidences of illegal tipping.
He said: “The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is in negotiations with councils on the subject of fly-tipping as a result of The Waste and Contaminated Land (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and is encouraging all councils to record information on the flycapture database.”
Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of rubbish on land not licensed to receive it. It can be dangerous and costs ratepayers a large amount of money to clear. If you discover fly-tipped waste do not:
Touch the waste — it may contain syringes, broken glass or toxic chemicals
Disturb the site — there may be evidence that may help identify the fly-tippers.