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'Stinking' rat-infested illegal waste dump in Belfast sparks anger

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The illegal waste inside and outside Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road

The illegal waste inside and outside Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road

The illegal waste inside and outside Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road

The illegal waste inside and outside Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road

The illegal waste inside and outside Edenderry Mill on the Crumlin Road

Residents in north Belfast are up in arms over gigantic stacks of rat-infested illegal waste that has been allowed to fester just yards from their homes.

The filth mountains - shown in the photographs on this page - have built up in a unit at the Edenderry Mill complex, a former linen mill on Crumlin Road which is now a mixture of industrial units and residential apartments, and nearby derelict land.

The rubbish pileup has been reported to the Belfast City Council's environmental health team, and also to the Department for Agriculture, Environment and the Rural Economy (DAERA) which has responsibility for policing waste management in Northern Ireland.

But local residents are furious as the waste - which included hazardous material such as asbestos sheets and oxygen cylinders - hasn't been removed.

Meanwhile, the stench worsens and clouds of black flies have forced residents to keep doors and windows closed. Some have even moved out.

"It's been stinking for five weeks now and nothing has been done," Stacey Graham told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

"The flies are everywhere. People can't open their doors for flies and the rats are roaming around everywhere.

"We're being told that action is being taken, but there's been absolutely no movement in the last lot of days - so the residents are now having to take a stand to raise awareness of the issue.

"It's awful. People can't even open their windows, and the rats are roaming the streets in daylight. It's no way to have to live.

"It's just not good enough."

Local politicians said they are pushing hard for action.

North Belfast MLA William Humphrey described the waste situation as "scandalous" and said: "We will not relent until it is removed."

The MLA called on his DUP colleague and Environment Minister Edwin Poots to intervene.

Court Area Councillor Brian Kingston, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, said: "We were contacted three weeks ago by a resident who had visited the industrial estate and had seen a large amount of waste material being stored in an industrial unit.

"We reported this to Belfast City Council Environmental Health Officers asking them to investigate this operation, in the belief that this was the cause of recent widespread complaints by residents of flies and rats in the Sydney Street West and Cambrai Street areas.

"Council officers confirmed that this was an illegal waste storage facility and referred the matter to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, for investigation with a view to prosecution."

But residents want action, not words. "It's just not good enough. We need something done about this," Ms Graham said.

In a statement, DAERA said it was aware of the matter which is currently under investigation.

Belfast Telegraph