The Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) Committee held its meeting on Thursday at Ebrington, where members received an update from Departmental officials on illegal dumping and waste crime.
Following the meeting, the Committee visited the Mobuoy Road waste site.
The visit was organised to provide members with an opportunity to view the area where over 516,000 tonnes of illegal waste was dumped, and to hear more about the way remedial measures and initiatives put in place by the Department are working.
Speaking after the site visit the Committee Chairperson, Linda Dillon MLA said: “The Mills Report published in December 2013, recognised the many complexities involved in illegal dumping and instances of waste crime at the Mobuoy site.
“It was noted at the time that in order to proactively and successfully tackle illegal dumping at this and other local sites, an overhaul of the entire waste management system would be required.
“Today’s site visit was an important opportunity for the committee to see what progress has been made in terms of the clean-up to date.
“We were also keen to discuss the disparity between the number of waste crime incidents reported and the relatively low number of convictions, fixed penalties and warnings secured.
“If we are to make any headway in terms of tackling and combating this serious issue, we must ensure that the deterrents are effective, appropriate and strongly enforced.”
Ms Dillon concluded: “We realise that there will be no quick fix in terms of resolving waste crime and illegal dumping and that it will require significant time, planning and money to overhaul the existing system.
“This is why the Committee intends to make waste management a key priority during the current Assembly mandate. We will continue to support, work with and monitor the Department to ensure that the appropriate measures to prevent illegal dumping and waste crime are developed and implemented.”
The Committee also visited the site for the new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Headquarters in Ballykelly.