Full Time Multidisciplinary Task Force Needed To Tackle Environment Crime Says Durkan

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan is calling for a significant gear change in how environmental crime is tackled.

The Minister wants to see the establishment of a permanent, full-time multidisciplinary task force to tackle the problem.

dn_screenMark H Durkan explained: “Much significant work has already been done in co-operation with the Dublin government to tackle the scourge of waste crime. We have worked on a North South basis to clean up illegal landfill sites in border regions and on joint enforcement actions.

“While all this work is very positive, we need to step up a gear to work jointly and effectively on a cross-border and indeed on an east west basis, to tackle the infiltration of organised crime in the waste industry and to deal with the scourge of fuel laundering.

“The border is no barrier to criminality and criminals have no respect for the environment or health. The border region, in particular the Newry and Mourne and South Armagh region, is plagued with the dumping of fuel laundered waste.

“This is not low level, victimless crime. In my view it is one of the greatest threats to our environment and to both human and animal health through potential contamination of our water supplies and local rivers.

“Without strong co-ordinated North South action, criminals will continue to rob our economies of vast sums of money though the sale of illegal fuel and to poison and pollute our environment and people.

“I support the call of the British Irish Parliamentary Body for more determined action north and south of the border to eliminate the activities of organised crime gangs involved with cross-border illicit trade, including the establishment of a permanent, full time multidisciplinary task force,”  added Minister Durkan.