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New penalties on way for illegal landfill dumpers as figures show very few convictions

Only 66 convicted across Northern Ireland in past decade

Picture for illustration purposes only

There were only 66 convictions relating to illegal landfill sites in Northern Ireland over the past decade.

And, throughout those 10 years, up to 750,000 tonnes of illegal waste were dumped at various locations.

And the Newry and Armagh constituency remains one of those where such actions are most prevalent.

The latest information has led to a local MLA to call for “stronger measures and enforcement” to tackle the scourge of illegal landfill dumping.

Cathal Boylan, Sinn Féin’s Environment spokesperson, said: “Hundreds and thousands of tonnes of waste have been illegally dumped in landfills to avoid landfill tax, a measure introduced by the British Government supposedly to encourage recycling and waste recovery, but which has actually led to huge increases in illegal landfill dumping.

“With only 66 convictions over the last number of years, from 2008 to 2017, for those guilty of dumping in illegal landfills, clearly more needs to be done to ensure that illegal dumpers are brought to justice.

“The material dumped not only has a financial cost to clean up, but damages our environment by contaminating the soil and has the potential to damage our health, as it could seep into the water we drink.

“The British Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has introduced new penalties for dumpers which will be in place from the 1st of April 2018, which will ensure that those dumping waste will be liable for unpaid landfill tax.

“Locally we need a stronger emphasis on enforcement and prosecution of those engaged in the criminal dumping of waste.”

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