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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 June, 2005, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Illegal dumping 'costing public'
Illegal dumping
Illegal dumping has come under the spotlight
Criminals are making millions of pounds through illegal dumping whilst tax payers could face huge bills, according to the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

The report on waste management said Northern Ireland could miss major targets, with the potential for fines.

Illegal dumping is thought to have cost the exchequer more than 5m in lost landfill tax.

The report points out that critical targets laid down by the UK and Europe were unlikely to be met.

BBC Northern Ireland environment correspondent Mike McKimm said the report was "scathing".

The Waste Framework Directive was implemented in 1975 so we've had 30 years to get to grips with this problem
Declan Allison
Friends of the Earth
"It says that often the DoE simply doesn't know what waste is going where and how much is being disposed of," he said.

The report estimates that in excess of 250m will have to be spent by councils developing waste infrastructure over the next five years.

It also estimates that in one case, the illegal dumping of more than 100,000 tons of waste earned one site owner more than 3m.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Declan Allison said the DoE needed to show "leadership and vision" which was "sadly lacking at the moment".

He said an independent environmental protection agency could tackle "the DoE's failure to deal with the illegal waste problem".

"If the DoE isn't up to the job, let's get people in who can do it," he added.

"The Waste Framework Directive was implemented in 1975 so we've had 30 years to get to grips with this problem.

"Even now, five years into the strategy, they haven't been able to get on top of things."

A spokesman for the DoE said it did not comment on such reports.

He said the department had received the report and was studying it closely.


SEE ALSO:
Illegal dumpers face crackdown
21 Oct 04 |  Northern Ireland
Hazardous waste figures 'shock'
20 Oct 04 |  Northern Ireland
Police return illegal waste
28 Sep 04 |  Northern Ireland


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