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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Burning tyres 'health hazard'
By Mike McKimm
BBC Northern Ireland environment correspondent

People are willing to break the law and risk the health of others to burn tyres at Eleventh Night bonfires in Northern Ireland.

Last year, the BBC's Newsline programme revealed new evidence that burning tyres produced deadly chemicals.

Burning tyres
Burning tyres give off toxic chemicals

The report was raised in the now suspended Northern Ireland Assembly where it was agreed that burning tyres was damaging to public and environmental health.

Tyres release more than 100 different chemicals into the air when they are burnt.

Many of these chemicals can cause cancer and respiratory diseases.

Burning tyres is a breach of the Clean Air Order and dumping them is a breach of the Pollution Control Order.

Allowing tyres to be taken from garages and depots is a breach of the Duty of Care regulations.

Private landowners could be sued by individuals for allowing the pollution.

Anne Blacker
Anne Blacker: Understands problem for garages
Northern Ireland's Environment and Heritage Service is keen to enforce the law.

Anne Blacker of the environment service said the first people in the chain who broke the law were the tyre companies and the tyre retailers.

She said they were bound by the new Duty of Care regulations to ensure that the waste they held was kept securely and under their control.

Ms Blacker also said she understood that at this time of year there were problems for garages as people wanted to take tyres and in some cases it was quite difficult to refuse.

Tyres in a garage
It is an offence to allow tyres to be taken from a garage

"We've been advising premises in those cases that the best thing to do is keep the waste tyres locked away inside the premises and basically not to let them build up on the premises," she said.

So why do the councils not remove the tyres?

They are worried for the safety of their staff if they try to do that - although they should do it by law if the tyres are in public areas.

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