Northern Ireland

Illegal landfill: Environment officials 'closer' to dealing with Londonderry waste site

A landfill site Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Mark H Durkan said a number of options to deal with the waste problem had been identified

The Department of the Environment says it is getting closer to a plan to deal with the biggest illegal landfill in Northern Ireland.

It now believes 1.5m tonnes of waste is in the Mobuoy site near Londonderry, beside the River Faughan, which is an important salmon river.

It said the options for dealing with the waste will ensure the protection of the river.

But it could be a year before a final plan is in place.

The options have been presented to a stakeholder group in Londonderry.

Pollution

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said investigations at the site earlier this year had provided better information about exactly what and how much material had been dumped there.

Last month, the Northern Ireland Assembly's environment committee was told that options included removing the waste and potentially leaving it in place.

Officials from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency told MLAs that if the waste was to be left in place a system to collect any liquid run-off and landfill gas would be needed to prevent pollution reaching the river.

Estimates have put the cost of fixing the problem at anything from £800,000 to £100m, depending on the approach taken.

Strategy

Mr Durkan said: "A number of remediation options for the site have been identified and shortlisted.

"These options will be presented to the local stakeholders today.

"However, further work is need to evaluate these shortlisted options and develop an integrated remediation strategy for the site.

"This will take up to 12 months to deliver."

A case is currently before the courts in relation to the dump.

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