Eyesore bonfire tyres to be removed from Belfast's Connswater Greenway 'over next week'
Tyres dumped at a bonfire site on the Connswater Greenway are to be removed over the next week, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has said.
Wood pallets and a large amount of tyres were dumped along the Flora Street walkway section of the £40million development.
Alliance leader Naomi Long branded it a disgrace while outgoing UUP leader Mike Nesbitt took to Twitter to say dumping of tyres was not culture.
Residents and politicians have demanded urgent action to remove the material destined for a loyalist bonfire in July.
Belfast councillor Jim Rodgers claimed children as young as eight had been involved in the building of the bonfire.
He said the responsibility for collecting the tyres was down to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
In response, it said: "The district council has lead responsibility for bonfire management, and is currently being assisted by NIEA to seek to secure the removal of the waste tyres from the Comber Greenway, with support from the local community.
"It is anticipated that the waste tyres will be collected over the next week and sent to an authorised waste site."
The agency also said it would take action against those who allowed the tyres to be dumped and urged anyone with information to pass the information on to it, or anonymously through Crimestoppers.
“Where evidence as to the perpetrator is available, NIEA will investigate incidents and where possible take enforcement action against those producers and/or carriers who allow tyres to be deposited for use at bonfire sites," it's statement continued.
"If you have any information regarding those responsible, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or the NIEA Environmental Crime Unit on 028 9056 9453 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be done anonymously.”
Belfast City Council has been asked for a response.
The Connswater Community Greenway is a £40million investment project in east Belfast creating a 5.5 mile park through east Belfast in a bid to connect the open and green spaces.
Burning tyres is not culture— Mike Nesbitt (@mikenesbittni) March 10, 2017
Following an outcry last week over the dumping, Belfast City Council said it was "very aware of negative issues associated with bonfires, particularly in relation to illegal dumping and general untidiness. Issues pertaining to bonfires are complex and multi-faceted.
"Responsibilities for the management of bonfires and associated issues is not just the responsibility of the council, and we will continue to work with partners and communities to address the issues and relieve the negative impacts associated with bonfires.”
Just last week a new bridge was opened along the greenway in honour of late Northern Ireland actor James Ellis.
The new bridge is the latest section of the Greenway to be opened linking CS Lewis Square at the Holywood Arches to Mersey Street and Victoria Park.
Alliance leader and East Belfast MLA Naomi Long branded the dumped material "an utter disgrace".
"This commercial scale fly tipping needs to be addressed as such. Connswater Greenway is an asset, Belfast City Council needs to act," she said.
The new multi-million-pound greenway in east Belfast. Today, it looks more orange than green ... pic.twitter.com/5qRdCWd6HY— Mark Simpson (@BBCMarkSimpson) March 10, 2017