Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what progress has there been on creating a new sanction in legislation to make the polluter pay to remediate or remove illegally deposited waste.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: Significant sanctions already exist within the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 for depositing waste without a licence, disposing of waste without a licence or disposing of waste in a manner likely to cause pollution. In accordance with the 1997 Order anyone convicted of such an offence may be subject to a compensation order by the court for the cost of removing the waste and taking other steps to eliminate the consequences of the waste.
I have also recently written to you advising of ongoing work to further strengthen the powers which Councils have to deal with fly tipping and to enable them to issue fixed penalty notices for smaller offences in relation to illegal waste deposits.
However, I am also pleased to advise that in late March the Department issued a further consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility. Under the proposed reforms to the Producer Responsibility system across the UK, producers will be required in accordance with the polluter pays principle to pay the full net costs of managing the disposal or treatment of packaging waste when it reaches its end of life and this will include the costs for the clean-up of packaging that ends up as litter. The proposed Environment Bill will provide powers to regulators to monitor, audit, and use civil and criminal penalties to drive compliance and address non-compliance for the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.