Council steps up waste clean-up and enforcement at William Street

The laneway at William Street during the clean-up.
The laneway at William Street during the clean-up.

Indiscriminate dumping is having a hugely negative impact on people who live, work and shop in the William Street area of the city centre.

This is the view of Derry City and Strabane District Council which has been working to address the ongoing problem of commercial waste being dumped at a private laneway at William Street.

The William Street laneway following the clean-up.

The William Street laneway following the clean-up.

Earlier this week, members of the Council’s cleaning staff, who regularly visit and clean the area, joined colleagues from the enforcement section to remove waste bags and food waste from the laneway.

The enforcement team and environmental health departments also met with traders in the area to remind them of their duties as commercial operators and to offer advice and assistance on best practices.

Council has also advised the landowners of their responsibility to ensure the laneway is kept clear and accessible at all times.

Conor Canning, Head of Environment with the Council, says indiscriminate dumping in the laneway has been an ongoing issue for Council for some time and a lot of effort and resources have gone into raising awareness and cleaning the area.

“We are very much aware of this issue and Council does not shy away from its responsibilities,” he says. “However, in this case, it is important that businesses take responsibility for their commercial waste, behave responsibly and adhere to the law when disposing of their commercial waste.

“The Council is not responsible for and should never need to clean up areas in the city centre that are privately owned and which have deposits of commercial waste that is the responsibility of private traders.”

We acknowledge the detrimental impact the current situation is having on our city centre and are committed to working with all parties to have it resolved.”

John Minnis, from NIEA’s Environment Crime Unit, took part in the waste inspection visits and said direct action was needed in this instance to stop fly-tipping.

“Fly-tipping is often viewed as a victimless crime but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he added. “Clean-up, investigation and prosecution costs are a significant strain on the public purse and the illegal dumping also has a significant impact on our environment, wildlife and health.

“Working with councils such as Derry City and Strabane District Council, we hope to educate businesses about their responsibilities for storing and disposing of their waste correctly.

“In NIEA, we are determined to tackle waste criminals who wilfully dispose of their waste illegally but we also want to inform and motivate people to change their behaviour. To have respect and concern for their environment - for their own communities, neighbours and our economy.”

Where a person is found guilty of indiscriminate dumping, they may be liable on summary conviction, to imprisonment or to a fine up to £20,000 or to both. For information on refuse enforcement, contact the Enforcement Section at 028 71 253 253 Ext 6868 or e mail wasteenforcement@derrystrabane.com.