Belfast Telegraph

No new laws planned on bonfires

By Noel McAdam

A Government department has decided against new legislation to control bonfires - at least in the near future.

It comes after more than a year of discussions between the 11 local councils and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

The talks followed a call from former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan for a formal licensing scheme to be considered.

But the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), which took over his department's functions, says it has no plans to introduce legislation.

Controversies over Eleventh Night and other bonfires have raged on for years without any agreement between regional and local government on protocols.

A policy review was initiated after two houses off the Shankill Road were destroyed when hot embers from a loyalist bonfire landed on their roofs.

A new DAERA statement said: "The lead role for the management of bonfires lies with district councils.

"Within district council-led multi-agency initiatives the NIEA will play a supporting role. At present we have no plans to introduce legislation surrounding bonfires."

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