Court Report Winter 2016/17

Belfast man convicted for waste offences

A Belfast man has been given suspended sentences at Laganside Crown Court for serious breaches of Waste Management Legislation.

The court heard that between August 2011 to February 2014, officers from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) visited the home of the 70 year old defendant in Hannahstown, where a large quantity of controlled waste had been deposited and was being kept on site without the required waste licence.

Samples taken at the site show this waste was polluting in nature. Investigating officers identified over 4,000 tonnes of mixed waste on site; this waste included plastics, wood, metals, textiles, carpet, tarmac, plasterboard, construction and demolition wastes and decomposing wastes. The site also contained a number of skips holding household waste. The defendant was a previous skip hire operator.

An NIEA spokesman said: “This is a significant case where thousands of tonnes of waste have been deposited on land without the proper authorisation and in circumstances where pollution was likely to happen. It represents the illegal burying of over 330 commercial bin lorry loads of mixed waste without any consideration for the environment, in order to avoid the charges associated with proper disposal. It also demonstrates that such activity will be vigorously investigated by NIEA’s Environmental Crime Unit.”

 

 


County Tyrone business fined £2,000 for polluting waterway

A Strabane property developer has been fined £2,000 plus an offender levy of £15 at Strabane Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told that on 25 February 2016 a Water Quality Inspector, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency visited a housing development site in the town and observed that the discharge from the site appeared to have a high level of suspended solids.

A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway. The analysis of the sample confirmed that the discharge of suspended solids was greater than 87 times the consented limit.

High concentrations of suspended solids in a waterway can have an abrasive effect upon the gills of fish, making them susceptible to infection, and can interfere with their respiration. In addition, suspended solids can settle out in the waterway and interfere with feeding and breeding habitats.

 

 


Omagh Car Breaker convicted of Waste Offences

A 44 year old car breaker from Omagh has been fined a total of £500 at Omagh Magistrates’ court for breaches of waste management legislation.

On 20 August 2015 officers from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency investigated a site, being occupied by the defendant, where a substantial quantity of End of Life vehicles, were being treated and stored without a waste management licence.

The businessman pleaded guilty to one charge of depositing controlled waste without holding a waste management authorisation and one charge of treating waste without holding a waste management authorisation.

 

 


Co Down businessman fined £700 for contravening discharge consent notice

Asupermarket owner has been fined a total of £700 in Newry Magistrates’ Court for contravening the conditions of a discharge consent issued by the Department and for failing to comply with the requirements of an Enforcement Notice.

The hearing was told that on 27 July 2015 an Article 12 Enforcement Notice was issued to the director of the business requiring the site to become compliant with the consent conditions by 21 September 2015.

On 20 October 2015 a Water Quality Inspector, acting on behalf of the Department, carried out a site visit to the supermarket to collect a sample from the agreed sample point for the sewage discharge from the business to assess compliance with the Enforcement Notice which had expired.

The results of the analysis show that this discharge had failed
to comply with these consent conditions and was unsuitable for discharge.

 

 


Farmer fined £650 for causing pollution

A Magherafelt farmer has been convicted and fined £650, plus £15 offenders Levy at Magherafelt Magistrates Court for making a polluting discharge to a waterway.

The court heard that on 11 June 2015, Water Quality Inspectors, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, inspected the Coppies Burn at Magherafelt and observed the presence of agricultural effluent in the waterway.  The source of the polluting discharge was traced to a farm owned by the accused.

On the farm the Inspectors discovered a valve had been left open which resulted in the effluent escaping and making its way into the pipe work and from there to the Coppies Burn.

The waterway was impacted for a distance of 3.2 kilometres resulting in the death of more than 880 native brown trout.

A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

*Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the
24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.