Northern Irish rivers suffer from pollution, says Assembly

1 Mar 01
Northern Ireland Assembly members have severely criticised pollution control in the province's rivers which gives polluters free rein.

02 March 2001

Billy Bell, chairman of the assembly's Public Accounts Committee, said: 'Fewer than 50% of dischargers comply with their conditions of consent, the water service is not fully regulated, and the Department of the Environment has not yet started the consultation process to implement farm pollution regulations.

'We are deeply concerned that Northern Ireland is still the only part of the British Isles without an independent environmental protection body.'

The members say that nearly half the dischargers who have obtained consent are not monitored at all. They also criticise the Environment and Heritage Service, a DoE agency, for inefficiency.

'We find it astonishing that, prior to 1997, EHS was prepared to spend £1m a year on setting and monitoring pollution consents… without generating basic compliance statistics,' they say in a report published this week.


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