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Time to get tough on illegal dumping

22 May, 2008

North Antrim MLA, and Sinn Féin Environmental Spokesperson, Daithí McKay has said that the judiciary need to get tougher on those involved in illegal dumping of waste. Mr McKay was speaking after the Environmental Crime Section of the DOE made a presentation to the Assembly's Environment Committee at his request.

Mr McKay said:

"It is quite clear that the punishment does not fit the crime when it comes to the illegal dumping of waste in the north. A recent case that I was made aware of was where someone who illegally dumped and buried more than 20,000 tonnes of waste in a rural area was given just a £1,000 fine, which is nothing compared to some of the profit that is made through illegal dumping on such a scale.

"Under the Waste (Amendment) Order 2007 powers given to courts were strengthened significantly. The maximum sentence for illegal waste activities was increased to 5 years and the maximum fine has been increased to £50,000. However these will mean nothing unless the judiciary start handing out sentences and fines which are significantly greater than those currently being dealt out.

"The PPS and the Judiciary have failed to effectively tackle those involved in this activity, and the fines being given to offenders are not enough to discourage them from further activity of this nature. They need to get tougher on environmental crime and the Department of the Environment also need to look at bringing in tougher legislation to tackle illegal dumping." ENDS

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