The new Planning Minister, Chris Hazzard, says the old Department of the Environment (DoE) mistakenly served enforcement notices against one of the biggest banks in the world, HSBC, relating to the unauthorised use of land for the deposit of controlled waste at Mobuoy Road on the outskirts of Londonderry.
The old DoE, thought the bank had ‘an estate’ in land at the centre of the largest illegal landfill dump in Europe. It didn’t.
Responding to an Assembly Question tabled by the People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann, the newly incumbent Minister for Infrastrucutre said the belief that the Canary Wharf headquartered bank had an estate in the Mobuoy land was mistaken.
“There have been four enforcement notices served on land at Mobuoy Road, Campsie,” he stated. “In terms of the legal requirement, legislation states that a copy of an enforcement notice must be served (a) on the owner and on the occupier of the land to which it relates; and (b) on any other person having an estate in the land, being an estate which, in the opinion of the Department, is materially affected by the notice.
“HSBC were considered by the Department of the Environment at the time of serving the Notices, to have an estate in the land – however it subsequently came to light that this was incorrect and that they did not have an estate in the land nor were they the registered owners of the land.
“The Department of the Environment acknowledged this error with HSBC.”
The bank - listed by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) as HSBC Bank PLC; HSBC Invoice Finance (UK) Ltd; HSBC Asset Finance (UK) Ltd; HSBC Equipment (UK) Ltd - appealed several of the enforcement notices last year, although the appeals have since been withdrawn.
A further enforcement notice appeal launched by Canada Property Participations Limited, which is also based in Canary Wharf, has also been withdrawn.