North waste sent to Louth

HUNDREDS of lorries filled with rotting domestic, commercial and industrial rubbish are heading for the Whiteriver landfill at Phillipstown in mid-Louth which is supposed to be closing.

HUNDREDS of lorries filled with rotting domestic, commercial and industrial rubbish are heading for the Whiteriver landfill at Phillipstown in mid-Louth which is supposed to be closing.

The dump was due to close this week but in a letter to county councillors, County Manager Conn Murray said keeping the Phillipstown dump open for another month will allow people more time to make other arrangements and for the recycling centre in Ardee to get up and running.

The Philipstown site has been closed to commercial users since July and was to close altogether this week because it was close to its EPA licence of 96,000 tons.

But it has now been revealed that the dump will now have to take thousand of tonnes of repatriated waste which had been illegally dumped across the Border.

The waste was taken North to avoid paying landfill charges here and resulted in criminals making a fortune.

Now, the Government here have to take it back after a deal worked out with the Northern administration.

Retrieving the waste is dangerous as environment agents do not know what they will dig up.

There is a risk from poisonous gas and everyone has to wear gas detectors.

The illegal movement of waste into Northern Ireland was at its height around 2003 - 2004 but has since been all but stopped by tighter legislation in the Republic of Ireland.

The arrangement to send the waste back across the border was reached in 2009 but seems to be a complex and slow process.

Nineteen sites have been identified so far in the North, but only three have been dealt with.

And so far its been a modest task compared to what is still to come.

One site is thought to contain around 70,000 tons. It could take half a year to clear that one alone.

The Phillipstown landfill has been a thorn in the side of people living in the area for years.

Many of the residents had constantly complained about the smell. The announced closure of the site was welcomed but despite the fact that it was supposed to have reached its EPA limit, it’s now set to take thousands of tonnes of waste illegally dumped North.