Assembly Committee Raises Fines for Illegal Waste

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 November 2010

Reference: ENV 04/10/11

The Assembly Committee for the Environment today released its report on the amended Waste and Contaminated Land Bill. The Bill sets out measures and responsibilities for recycling and for dealing with illegal dumping of waste.

Committee Chairperson, Cathal Boylan MLA said: “There are many aspects of this Bill that the Committee has taken an interest in. In particular, the issuing of fixed penalties for people caught abandoning waste without appropriate licenses and the extension of powers to local councils to deal with illegal dumping of waste.
“The Committee has worked with the Department to ensure the level of fines applied to illegal dumping are appropriate. We are pleased the Department has accepted our recommendation to increase the upper level of fine to £400 for more serious offences or repeat offenders.
“The Committee is especially keen to ensure that the level of fines remains appropriate. For this reason the Committee has agreed its own amendment to the Bill that would require the Department to bring any plans for fine increases to the Assembly for debate. This will ensure that any increases to fines are for the right reasons, and will not be seen as an easy way to increase revenue for councils and the Department. This is consistent with other fixed penalty fines systems currently being considered in the Assembly.
“The Committee is supportive of councils being given the same powers as the Department of the Environment to deal with the illegal dumping of waste. However, we believe it is essential that an appropriate protocol is in place before these powers are given. Without this, councils will have no clarity on their responsibilities in dealing with matters such as larger volumes of illegally dumped waste, hazardous materials or waste left on ground that has no identifiable owner.”

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