Northern Ireland’s water pollution ignored
by David Masters
July 24, 2008
Cases of water pollution in Northern Ireland rarely lead to a prosecution, despite thousands of fish being killed in Northern Ireland’s rivers during recent years.
Department of Environment statistics suggest that water polluters are more likely to receive a warning letter than be taken to court.
Last year there were 1,259 confirmed cases of water pollution in NI, 22 classified as high severity, 203 classified as medium severity. An additional 1,036 reports of water pollution were left unconfirmed.
If these cases, just 62 led to a recommendation for court action, whilst 135 resulted in warning letters being issued. Only 10 cases have so far been heard in court.
Environmental campaigners are frustrated by the figures, saying that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency must do more to improve the country’s water standards.
Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK without its own environment protection agency, and many campaigners are calling for Northern Ireland to be given its own independent environmental protection agency without vested interests and with enough powers to make a real difference.
The failure of the DoE to take water pollution cases to court has led to the Anglers’ Conservation Association taking private legal action against polluters.
Last week the ACA won £1,000 in damages because of an oil spill in County Antrim.
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