The mass dumping of used tyres on a quiet country lane near Drumahoe has been branded a “total disgrace” with local politicians expressing concern criminal gangs may be exploiting disposal charge differentials to make a profit at the expense of the environment and ratepayers.
Two dozen tyres were dumped in the scenic Glen Brae area near Drumahoe in the early hours of Thursday morning, October 1.
DUP Councillor for Faughan Graham Warke, said: “It’s a total disgrace and unfortunately it’s something that’s happening quite a lot throughout the rural area.
“Whoever is responsible has shown total disregard for the environment, to just tip these on the side of the road in our beautiful countryside.
“I would ask people to be vigilant and if they see or hear anything suspicious to report it to the authorities.”
Three years ago the Stormont Environment Committee compiled a report on used tyre disposal.
The Committee warned that much waste (including waste tyres) was being handled illegally because such “criminality was capable of generating significant financial benefit for those involved.”
The report said: “This potential for financial gain has attracted organised criminals into the waste industry Vigilance, inspection and enforcement techniques (which are already contained in environmental legislation and the Proceeds of Crime Act) will be used to tackle this issue.
“The Department is aware of instances where large quantities of waste tyres are being flytipped.”
Mr Warke’s colleague Maurice Devenney, who has frequently raised the issue of dumping in the rural area, says organised crime cannot be ruled out.
“Whoever is responsible for this, it falls back on the ratepayers of Londonderry and Strabane to pay for the clean-up. Whether it’s tyres or animal carcasses there is a cost to disposal so people are dumping to avoid those costs. In the end it’s the ratepayer who’s left with the bill.”
Mr Devenney reiterated Mr Warke’s call for vigilance.
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that while it had not been made aware of this incident it will endeavour to investigate it and remove the offending materials.
The Environment Committee’s report of three years ago concluded: “Obtaining licences to carry tyres legally is too easy and the Department does not have the resources to conduct sufficient checks prior to them being issued or carry out compliance checks afterwards.