Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs how he plans to ensure that other illegal waste disposal sites do not remain undetected.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: My officers are actively continuing to make optimum use of all the resources available to them to locate unauthorised waste disposal sites. NIEA’s Enforcement Branch are working collectively with DAERA colleagues and their counterparts in the PSNI, HMRC, the District Councils (DCs), Planning, promoting intelligence sharing and joined-up enforcement activity, allowing for early detection and intervention and where possible prevention.
NIEA’s Enforcement Branch investigates complaints, regarding the suspected unauthorised disposal of waste, from members of the public, elected representatives, DCs, and other parts of government. Reported incidents are analysed to identify high-risk incidents, emerging risks, repeat locations and offenders, which informs the strategic priorities of NIEA in targeting specific areas of susceptibility and in support of Agency-wide enforcement activity.
NIEA’s Enforcement Branch continues to carry out planned vehicle check points with the PSNI and DVA throughout Northern Ireland to monitor potential areas of concern. This is coupled with planned audits and inspections of waste facilities and waste producers, which identify any irregularities in the waste management chain.
The effectiveness of media campaigns such as Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s ‘Live Here, Love Here’, and DAERA’s own social media messaging, in increasing awareness of the need to protect and promote our environment and encouraging reporting of the issue is demonstrated by the increase in incidents reported to my Department. I welcome the contributions from the public, and thank them for taking the time to contact the Agency.