Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Spot inspections target waste crime

Illegal waste disposal is a major problem in Northern Ireland

Spot inspections are to be introduced to combat waste crime, the environment minister has said.

The speedy action is intended to reduce the risk of destruction of evidence which enforcement officers need to pursue a case through the courts.

In the past, authorities had to give a day's notice before entering residential premises or bringing in heavy equipment, Alex Attwood said.

"Illegal waste activity is a major problem in Northern Ireland. The stronger measures I am introducing will act as a deterrent and help to prevent further environmental damage," he said.

The SDLP MLA said officials will be required to obtain a court warrant before they can enter property without giving notice and will have to satisfy the court that such action is necessary.

Removing all the waste from illegal dumping sites in Northern Ireland could cost upwards of £30 million, it was recently revealed.

Some of the illegal waste in Northern Ireland originated in the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish government is to spend more than 36 million euro (£31.5 million) on transferring 250,000 tonnes of illegal household and commercial waste which was illegally dumped in Northern Ireland.

Other measures coming into force in Northern Ireland include new offences on non-payment of fees for waste management licences.

Anyone operating a management centre is required to pay an annual fee, and the DoE will be able to take people to court if this payment is not made. The maximum fine at present will be £5,000.

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