Belfast Telegraph

Controversial Mid Ulster bonfires scheme not ready for Twelfth, says councillor

By Michael Sheils McNamee

A controversial bonfires licensing scheme by a Northern Ireland council may not be in place by the Twelfth of July, a unionist councillor has said.

Trevor Wilson, the UUP's group leader on Mid Ulster Council, believes the scheme will not be enacted by this summer.

In March, the council voted to back measures proposed by its Bonfire Working Group, including the requirement for bonfire organisers to prove fires being held on council land met conditions laid down by the authority.

These included having no hazardous or toxic materials collected, stored or burned; and having no flags, emblems or effigies burned. Unionist councillors hit out at the decision, with DUP group leader, Councillor Paul McLean, claiming it was "part of an orchestrated plan by Sinn Fein to stop Eleventh Night bonfires", saying it would be better managed by working with local communities.

A council spokesperson confirmed the issue would be discussed by its Environment Committee on Tuesday evening, at which point the timescale for the implementation of the scheme would be confirmed.

UUP councillor Wilson said: "It is my belief that the council will have to undertake a consultation period and, bearing in mind that the Twelfth celebrations are 10 weeks away, it would appear that the council will be unable to implement a bonfire policy for this July."

Belfast Telegraph

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