Waste management failures can be addressed within all-Ireland framework
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment, North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan commenting on Audit Office report into the handling of waste management by the Department of the Environment has said that the report is a damming indictment on the failure of government to get to grips with the waste management crisis and that waste management failures can be addressed within all-Ireland framework.
Mr McGuigan said:
"The record of government in dealing with waste management in the Six Counties is very poor. It has not got to grips with either the current requirements for waste management or, more seriously, the future requirements to meet both our needs and the advances required to meet EU directives.
"We need to wake up the seriousness of the situation and inject a sense of urgency in how we develop the responses to meet EU standards. This means that we need to see more central resources given to local government to allow it to make a step change in increasing recycling and in developing alternatives to what appears to be the departmental preferred option of incineration.
"In key areas the government has abjectly failed to act. There is a crisis in waste treatment capacity. It makes no sense to look at the problems of waste management or illegal dumping in a segregated way. These waste management failures can be addressed within all-Ireland framework.
"We need an All Ireland waste management strategy driven by an Implementation Body with tough enforcement powers to move us away from landfill and incineration. In meeting EU directives on waste management the government is abandoning councils and almost by default trying to force us down the road of incineration as opposed to providing the proper planning and financial framework for the development of alternatives.
"The DoE has failed to protect the environment and to develop the waste management solution required for the 21st century. Sinn Fein believe it should be stripped of its environmental protection powers because it has abjectly failed to do its job. We believe that there is a strong case for the creation of a single All Ireland Environmental Protection Agency with strong enforcement powers and a strong commitment to ensuring that the polluter is held responsible for their actions and meets treatment costs." ENDS