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Fly-tipping on the rise as recycling centres close amid coronavirus lockdown in Northern Ireland


Unacceptable: tyres dumped in Fermanagh and Omagh council area

Unacceptable: tyres dumped in Fermanagh and Omagh council area

Unacceptable: tyres dumped in Fermanagh and Omagh council area

Councils are seeing an upsurge in fly-tipping after recycling centres were closed as part of measures taken to combat coronavirus.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said it has received a number of complaints about illegal dumping recently.

Council chairwoman Siobhan Currie said "the recent spate of fly-tipping is both environmentally and socially unacceptable, as well as a public health risk to our community and staff, and it has resulted in resources being diverted to clean up such instances".

"These resources are needed to ensure that the Council can continue to deliver critical services. It is placing an additional burden on staff and resources at this unprecedented and challenging time," she added.

"I recognise that many people are using the opportunity of being at home to carry out some spring cleaning.

"However, with recycling centres currently closed in response to government guidance on closure of non-essential premises to control social distancing, I would ask that householders please store items at home until further notice."

Council enforcement officers are empowered to issue a £75 fixed penalty fine to anyone found littering. In more serious incidents the matter can be brought before the magistrates' court and, upon conviction, fines of up to £2,500 can be imposed.

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In Mid and East Antrim, DUP councillor Marc Collins said he has raised the issue of fly-tipping with senior council officers.

"I know there are bound to be comments that the dumps are closed, so it's expected - no it's not. We are all in the same situation - myself included - but I don't take my rubbish to the nearest grass verge and dump it. It is not acceptable," he said.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is urging householders to "think twice" before clearing out their homes or garages during the lockdown.

"All council household waste recycling centres are closed and our waste sector workers are already under pressure," it said.

"Some people are fly-tipping and adding to the growing burden on vital workers. Stop it!"

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