Belfast Telegraph

Illegal waste returned to Republic

Thousands of tonnes of waste which was illegally dumped in rural Co Fermanagh will be returned to the Republic on Wednesday.

About 4,500 tonnes of household rubbish from Cork and Wexford will be sent back over the border from a site near Garrison.

Stormont Environment Minister Edwin Poots said it sent a strong message to landowners not to accept the material on their land.

He said: "No matter how attractive the potential payment, it will never be worth the threat to your property and finances when you are caught," he said.

The problem arose 10 years ago when illegal disposal of waste from the Republic was taking place on a large scale. Mr Poots added: "It involved serious criminality with absolutely no regard to the impact on the environment, local communities or our economy.

"This process involved challenging work for my officials in DoE (Department of the Environment) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and their counterparts in the Republic.

"It illustrates the importance of co-operation to protect the environment, pursue environmental crime and protect those who are trying to run legal waste businesses in these challenging economic times."

It follows a 2007 agreement between the two jurisdictions and a further resolution in June 2009 which agreed measures for dealing with sites containing waste from the Republic.

When the rubbish at Slattinagh near Garrison is removed, officials will begin work on a site located near Trillick, Co Tyrone, containing around 10,000 tonnes of refuse.

Anne Blacker, head of the NIEA's environmental crime unit which carried out investigation of the sites, said: "The sight of lorries full of waste being removed represents the culmination of a great deal of planning and teamwork. We are removing a source of pollution which had the potential to keep polluting for decades."

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