Committee Criticises Department On Ineffective Response To Impact Of Used Tyres

Synopsis: The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Environment has criticised the Department of the Environment's poor response to the Committee's Report into the Management of Used Tyres. The Report made 20 important recommendations to help address the problem of illegally dumped tyres, however the Department has rejected a number of these, including those which would be the most effective at reducing the impact of used tyres on the environment.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 20 September 2012

Reference: ENV 02/12/13

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Environment has criticised the Department of the Environment's poor response to the Committee's Report into the Management of Used Tyres. The Report made 20 important recommendations to help address the problem of illegally dumped tyres, however the Department has rejected a number of these, including those which would be the most effective at reducing the impact of used tyres on the environment.

Committee Chairperson Anna Lo MLA, said, "The Committee recognises the significant problem used tyres cause to the environment, including unsightly fly tipping and toxic smoke from tyre fires, and we are determined to find a solution and reduce the impact. To make sure we were aware of all the issues, we undertook five visits, spoke to more than 10 concerned organisations and received 23 written submissions before drafting our Interim Report.

"The Report made 20 recommendations to the Department of the Environment, including making it obligatory for everyone operating in the tyre industry to join a registration scheme, the possibility of a producer-responsibility initiative, and more accurate reporting and monitoring of tyre disposal. In the Department's response to the Committee's recommendations, they have only selected the cheapest measures with short term improvements, without considering those that will have the greatest impact."

Ms Lo continued: "We are deeply concerned that the Department has ignored some of the most effective solutions and seem to only be focusing on the short-term. We urge the Department to re-examine the Committee's recommendations, with particular emphasis on putting the right resources and longer-term solutions in place.

"The Committee has been frustrated with the Department for some time on this issue. More than a year ago we asked for statistics and information on used tyre disposal, but we have still not received any findings. We delayed the production of our Report in order to facilitate the Department and are disappointed by this poor response. However, the Minister has indicated that this is an initial response and he will be considering the matter further. I sincerely hope he will be coming back to the Committee shortly with a more positive way forward."

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