Northern Ireland's waste record under fire again

Another official report has criticised the Department of Environment's lack of progress on waste in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee warned that progress on the province's waste strategy, which was issued in 2000, was "lamentable". Its findings echoed those of the DoE's own Waste Management Advisory Board (ENDS Report 362, p 41 ).

The latest report comes from the Northern Ireland Audit Office in June.1 It says it is "essential" that any future waste strategy "is based on a reliable assessment of the current waste problem in terms of nature, source, volume and rate of growth of each waste stream."

The report also recommends that the Environment and Heritage Service should assume the role of waste management authority, relieving councils of the responsibility of making strategic decisions.

On the assumption that the volume of illegally dumped waste that emanated from within the province was the same as the amount that was brought across the border from the Republic, the Audit Office estimates that at least £5.6 million in landfill tax revenue was lost up to 2004. Delays in awarding an all-Ireland waste management contracts for fridges cost the public purse at least £750,000.

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