Republic to take back fly tipped waste dumped in Northern Ireland

The Republic of Ireland has agreed to take back the waste from a series of vast fly tipping sites north of the border that was illegally dumped over a two year period at the beginning of the decade.

An estimated 250,000 tonnes of waste from the republic was dumped at the 20 sites between the end of October 2002 and the end of 2004, as waste crooks tried to cash in on the perceived lack of co-operation between the two countries.

A spokesman for the Irish Ministry of Environment, Heritage and Local Government told edie that the size of the problem showed it was more than just ‘casual’ fly tippers.

“This was completely unregulated dumping on an industrial scale,” he said.

“It was cowboy operators not wanting to pay the landfill levy.”

Environment Minister John Gormley said: “We are dealing with a legacy issue going back to a time when a great deal of illegal waste activity took place in both jurisdictions and we must now, given our responsibilities under EU waste shipments legislation, bring the waste back for proper disposal.

“I welcome that significant progress has been made in dealing comprehensively with this issue. It shows that cross border cooperation between the relevant agencies in both jurisdictions is essential to the protection of our environment, and the pursuit of environmental crime.”

The two countries will use the evidence recovered from excavating the sites to track down and prosecute those responsible for the dumping.

Under the agreement, Northern Ireland will pick up 20% of the costs of repatriating the waste with the Republic paying the remainder.

The excavation of the first two sites at Slattinagh, Co. Fermanagh and near Trillick, Co. Tyrone alone is expected to cost almost €4m.

Sam Bond

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