Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to address cross-border waste crime.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: NIEA is one of number of enforcement agencies from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (ROI), which meet regularly in cross-border groupings, under the auspices of the Department of Justice’s Organised Crime Task Force. This, and its participation in the 5 Nations Forum, involving all the Environment Agencies in these islands, allows NIEA to share information, intelligence and resources, as well as examples of good practice.
Information relating to cross border waste crime issues is shared with ROI partner agencies to identify joint investigative and preventative opportunities.
My officers in the NIEA regularly share information on suspected waste offenders, high-risk issues, incidents, emerging risks and potential offenders with other enforcement agencies using information sharing agreements or Memoranda of Understanding.
In addition, my officers will conduct proactive enforcement operations in collaboration with partner agencies in ROI to prevent, detect and deter waste offences.
Dublin City Council, the competent authority in ROI for cross border movements of waste, and my officials in NIEA’s Transfrontier Shipment of Wastes section continue to work together and target resources into joint enforcement action against those involved in cross border illegal waste activity. The two organisations meet regularly to review activities, discuss ongoing investigations and agree future work.