Farmers' tyres a soft target for Environmental Crime Unit - McMullan
Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said today those who burn tyres on bonfires should be prosecuted rather than farmers using them for legitimate business purposes.
The Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson said;
"I have been made aware of an incident where a farmer could face prosecution for moving tyres on his own land.
"Many farmers use tyres as an essential part of their business and they are fully entitled under the law to do so.
"Yet we are now facing the ridiculous situation where farmers are receiving letters from the Environmental Crime Unit of the NI Environment Agency telling them they are being investigated and could be interviewed under caution.
"These letters contain highly charged language and are causing great distress in the farming community.
"I have written to the Environment Agency and the Environment Minister asking for details on how many farmers are being investigated and how many non-farming businesses are under investigation regarding tyres.
"I have also asked has the Environmental Crime Unit sent any letters to individuals or groups involved in burning tyres on bonfires.
"Farmers are a soft target rather than pursuing those causing serious environmental damage burning tyres on bonfires close to the homes, schools, hospitals and businesses and damaging people's health in the process.
"The farming community on the other hand works daily to protect and conserve our environment and contributes to the economy"