Worst area in province for fly-tipping with £43k bill to remove waste

Worst area in province for fly-tipping with £43k bill to remove waste

9 September 2020

THE district’s taxpayers have had to fork out over £43,000 to remove waste dumped illegally across the district, shocking new figures have revealed.

The Environment Agency has confirmed that Newry, Mourne and Down Council tops the province’s fly-tipping league table and is far and away the worst area for people dumping their waste in fields, secluded areas and even along the roadside.

Province-wide, the total bill for removing waste from 11 council areas was almost £200,000 with only Antrim and Newtownabbey Council emerging with any credit as it did not have to spend a single penny in removing waste dumped illegally.

The majority of fly-tipping incidents are reported to and dealt with by local authorities with a number of incidents reported recently in the Crossgar area.

Local councillors Dermot Curran, Billy Walker and Robert Burgess say they cannot understand the mentality of those who view rural areas as open air dumps and believe that tougher penalties must be introduced on those who willingly break the law.

The councillors believe that the current £75 fine is simply not a strong enough deterrent for committing what is an environmental crime. 

They are also perplexed that people who dump their waste illegally refuse to take it to any of the district’s household recycling centres and won’t use the local council’s bulky refuse collection service for which there is a nominal charge of £10.50 to collect up to five items from people’s homes for disposal.

There was an upsurge in fly-tipping across Northern Ireland during the coronavirus lockdown when all civic amenity sites were closed. But there are concerns that illegal dumping is continuing, even though the facilities have reopened.

Cllr Curran described fly-tipping as a “blight on the landscape” and has appealed to people to dispose of their waste properly.

“I fail to understand why there are those who want to turn parts of the district into rubbish tips. Not only that, it is my understanding that there are those who drive past council recycling sites to dispose of their waste illegally,” he said.

“People need to change their behaviour when it comes to getting rid of their waste. At the minute, there are those who have no respect for the landscape or the environment around them which is both deeply disappointing and concerning.”

Cllr Curran also appealed to anyone who has any information about those who engage in fly-tipping to report it to the authorities.

He added: “We all have a responsibility to deal with our rubbish responsibly. Locally the council has a number of civic amenity sites and also offers a home collection service for bulky waste. There is no excuse for dumping waste illegally. Fly-tipping is a scourge on the district; one that we could well do without.”

Cllr Walker says everyone has a responsibility and duty of care to make sure their rubbish doesn’t end up being dumped illegally. He also said it’s ironic that ratepayers who dump their waste illegally end up having to pay for its removal through their taxes.

“Illegal waste is a blot on our landscape and discarded waste can attract vermin, it damages the environment and, in some extreme cases, can lead to the pollution of waterways. Those who engage in such behaviour need to wise up,” Cllr Walker declared.

“It could also be argued that the fact our council area tops the fly-tipping league table says something about the individuals who engage in such despicable behaviour. Do they not understand the simple message of disposing of their waste properly?”

He added: “I spotted three mattresses dumped along the roadside outside Ballynahinch last week and the mentality of those who do this sort of thing is beyond me.”

Cllr Burgess said that while the majority of people dispose of their rubbish correctly, a small number of “selfish people” were placing a significant burden on the environment.

“It is shocking that people want to blight the area where they live with their own waste. This sort of behaviour beggars belief and a strong financial penalty is needed to make it clear that such behaviour will no longer be tolerated,” he declared.

“People who dump their waste illegally are mindless and I am annoyed that one again the spectre of fly-tipping has raised its ugly head in our district. The countryside is being blighted and hard-pressed taxpayers are left to pick up the bill to remove other people’s rubbish.”

Cllr Burgess said people need to show more respect for the countryside and the environment in general and that fly-tipping must cease.