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Taxpayer funds could be better spent on fines

At a time when we are being conditioned to expect savage cuts, I read an article in the Belfast Telegraph (News, June 11) that, I suggest, is an area where the cost to the taxpayer could be reduced at the same time as improving the effectiveness of the service offered.

The Planning Service took a case against a businessman who demolished a building without permission and the Planning Service won. The punishment was a fine of just £150. This fine is in no way a deterrent to those contemplating similar action and in no way compensates for another loss of our built heritage. We do not know the cost to the taxpayer of this pointless exercise. I suggest that in future the fines should be constructed so as to not only deter future similar behaviour, but to include the full reimbursement of the expenses. Such a derisory fine is totally ineffective. It is inappropriate for the taxpayer to be expected to fund futile exercises such as this. We cannot afford it and we never could.



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