Northern Ireland cutting wastes being sent to Scotland

A U-turn decision from Ballymena Council in Northern Island this week will see the end to dumping thousands of tonnes of waste in Scottish landfill sites. Since February 2002, the council has been sending 400 tonnes of waste each week to Lendalfoot in Ayrshire. The annual £500,000 contract has been cancelled.

The council are to revert to using it’s own landfill site, despite earlier claims that the shortage of local facilities had forced up disposal costs significantly compared to Scotland. However, the council’s contractors have found that the length of travel between Northern Ireland and Scotland is considerably longer than they had estimated, with long waits between loading on and off the boats, Alex Kinghorn, Chief Environmental Health Officer at Ballymena Council told edie. The practice was found to be uneconomical, and was ended on 20 May.

The Bellymena mayor, Tommy Nicholl, is reported by Friends of the Earth as saying, “We were not happy about sending the waste across the water.”

Last month edie reported on another council in Northern Ireland, North Down, which had agreed to begin exporting 30,000 tonnes of waste to Scotland each year. It is hoped that this turnaround by Ballymena will influence North Down Council to make the same decision, although the North Down deputy mayor, Valerie Kinghan has said that there are no plans to rethink their waste management.

The foot and mouth crisis is being partly blamed for the current crisis in Northern Ireland’s landfill capacity, which has lead to a delay in the development of a national waste management strategy. The strategy is due to be finalised this autumn, but already disposal space has been running out.

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