Belfast Telegraph

Alex Attwood escalates attack on waste and fuel laundering crime

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has announced an extra £1.5 million of funding to tackle waste and fuel laundering crime, money to be spent between now and next month.

The additional money was secured by the DOE Minister in the June Monitoring Round and will be spent by DOE in coming months to go after waste criminals. The Executive acknowledged the need and agreed to the request.

The £1.5 million will be spent on:

  • purchase of overt and covert surveillance equipment for use where appropriate and where waste crime is suspected;
  • purchase of specialist vehicles and surveying equipment;
  • more staff on the ground, more visits, verifying the legitimate origins and destinations of waste flows;
  • specialist forensic accountancy and computer forensics contracts to analyse financial matters believed to be connected with serious waste crime;
  • additional staffing to progress action against hauliers found to be using or procuring illegal fuel or found to be involved in the illegal management of waste;
  • additional contracts to managing the clean-up of fuel laundering waste

Alex Attwood said: “This is a useful start. Efforts must be multiplied so we can once and for all face down organised crime on the island of Ireland.

“Protection of our clean and green environment is one side of a coin. The other side is the enforcement to make sure this happens. That means more people ‘on the ground’, visiting sites. More people checking where waste starts and where it ends up. Investigating the hauliers using illegal fuel. Investigating their financial practices and their computer records. This additional funding will ensure that can now happen.

“As the action taken last month against the unlawful dumping of hundreds of thousands of tons of waste near Derry demonstrates, my Department is moving more decisively against waste criminals. Securing the funding is a clear indication of the scale of environmental crime and fuel laundering. 

”It is my firm belief that government, the police and crime agencies must escalate further their response to organised crime. This money is a good step but one of many that need to follow. Criminals and organised crime need to know we are going to come for them. The £1.5million will help.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is a member of the Cross Border Fuel Group which is part of the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) and a member of the OCTF criminal finances group . The Organised Crime Task Force was established in 2000 to provide strategic direction for a multi-agency approach to tackling organised crime. Chaired by the Justice Minister David Ford, the Task Force brings together representatives from Government, law enforcement and a wide range of other agencies. It is a forum where partner agencies can discuss problems, share information and agree priorities. More information is available at
2. For media enquiries please contact DOE Press Office 028 9025 6058 or out of office hours, contact the EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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