Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken to clarify responsibility for enforcement of waste legislation between local government and the NI Environment Agency.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: For large scale serious and/or organised waste offending, my officials continue to work locally and nationally with a range of Law Enforcement Agencies, Departments and District Councils to gather evidence/detect offenders and, where possible, report such criminality to the Public Prosecution Service.
Responsibility for dealing with illegal dumping is shared between the District Councils, who deal with low level waste offences, and NIEA who deal with large scale waste criminality and hazardous waste.
My officials are also continuing to develop inter-agency working with regard to the Fly-tipping Protocol, which is in the process of being agreed with local Councils. This will facilitate quick and efficient responses to smaller cases of reported illegal dumping. It will consolidate responsibilities for both NIEA and Councils and will maximise the effectiveness of our collective efforts in dealing with illegal dumping.
This ongoing work will further strengthen the powers which Councils have to deal with fly tipping and will enable them to issue fixed penalty notices for such offences.