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Call for closure of Mullaghglass landfill site

31 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Lagan Valley MLA Paul Butler is calling for a landfill site on the outskirts of West Belfast at Mullaghglass to be shut down. He also said that the Department of the Environment has 'lost their way over waste management' and warned that if we don't reach the waste management targets set by Europe by 2010 we could face financial penalties of £180 million per annum.

The Environment and Heritage Service closed the site on Wednesday on a temporary basis because of concerns about an infestation of flies at the site.

Mr Butler said:

"The impact this landfill is having on the local community in Castlerobin and further a field is devastating.

"This super-dump has turned into a living nightmare for local residents whose homes are beside the dump. People are living in unbearable and totally unacceptable conditions and it must not be allowed to continue.

"I have already raised this matter with the Minister responsible for waste management Arlene Foster. She has carried out an investigation into the fly infestation and other problems associated with the site in relation to odour and litter, but it is clear that there are problems in the way this landfill is being run. The reality is that this landfill site has now become a super-dump nightmare for local people in the area.

"Direct Rule Minister, Angela Smith, who gave the go ahead for Mullaghglass when she was in charge of the DOE, was panicked into making her decision. The pressure the Department of the Environment was under at the time to come up with a credible waste management strategy lead to a rushed decision being made. The reality is that the Department of the Environment's response to managing waste here been patchy and slow.

"The report by the NI Affairs Committee shows clearly that the DoE have lost their way over waste management. If the North of Ireland doesn't meet its waste management targets set by Europe by 2010 it could face financial penalties of the order of £180 million per annum." ENDS

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