Toxic illicit fuel waste to be tackled

Published Monday, 15 October 2012
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A campaign has been launched to tackle the dumping of toxic waste from fuel-laundering plants throughout the region.

Toxic illicit fuel waste to be tackled
The scene at Drumgose Road, Middletown last week. (© HMRC)

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Crimestoppers have joined forces in a bid to stop the discarding of sludge.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the dumping of waste from fuel-laundering, which is a toxic mix of highly polluting chemicals, is a crime that affects everyone.

"Not only does it damage and pollute the environment but disposing of the waste is a significant drain on our resources, diverting money from other services such as roads, hospitals and schools," he said.

"Reckless criminals are polluting our land, our air, our water and our wildlife, as well as risking our health."

Mr Attwood said hardly a week goes by without an incident.

He continued: "The key to stopping this dumping lies in obtaining information on the people who do it.

"Crimestoppers offers a completely safe, confidential and untraceable means for people to report crime."

"We owe it to future generations to do what we can to stop this poisoning of our environment."

Two fuel-laundering plants capable of producing a total of 15 million litres of illegal diesel - and evading almost £9m in unpaid duty - every year were uncovered at Cullyhanna and Middletown in Co Armagh last week.

A total of three tonnes of toxic waste, 1,000 litres of illicit fuel, a tanker, pumps and equipment were seized from the plants.

Speaking on the discoveries, Beth Smith, of HMRC Specialist Investigations, said: "Every illegal laundering operation has significant environmental and safety issues.

"These operations typically generate tonnes of toxic waste, which is often dumped indiscriminately in the countryside.

Crimestoppers telephone: 0800 555 111
"So as taxpayers and local ratepayers not only are we missing out on the tax, which is going into the pockets of the criminals, we are also paying the substantial clean up and disposal costs."
© UTV News
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