Ulster Wildlife has appealed to the public to help track down filthy fly-tippers who dumped more than 250 tyres over the gate of the Slievenacloy Nature Reserve near Stoneyford.
People are being urged to report any information about those responsible for dumping the tyres to enforcement officers at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, who are investigating what is the latest in a catalogue of fly-tipping incidents in the local area.
It is thought the tyres, which were dumped sometime on Thursday, January 25, are likely to have come from a garage or waste contractor. They have since been removed by council staff.
This isn’t the first time Slievenacloy Nature Reserve, a designated Area of Special Scientific Interest, has been targeted by fly-tippers. Sadly it is not uncommon at the local wildlife haven, with everything from tyres and furniture to cars having been dumped over the years, creating a blot on the landscape and putting Ulster Wildlife’s limited resources under pressure.
Deborah McLaughlin, Nature Reserves Officer with the charity, said: “Fly-tipping is a growing problem at Slievenacloy, and across the wider Belfast Hills, but this is the worst we’ve experienced yet.
“Slievenacloy is a beautiful and protected wildlife haven, where orchids, butterflies and birds can thrive and visitors can enjoy nature.
“We would urge businesses and individuals to correctly dispose of their unwanted waste either through certified waste contractors or at their local recycling centres to help us protect and care for special places like this, on their doorstep.”
Alderman Tommy Jeffers, Chair of the Environmental Services Committee at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, commented: “We condemn all illegal dumping of material and will continue to work with our partners to deter and detect this abhorrent crime.
“Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is aware of a number of ‘hotspots’ within the area that are used for fly-tipping of waste materials and we have introduced a number of surveillance measures in these ‘at risk’ areas.
“Anyone who is identified committing an offence will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £80 or prosecuted under Article 3 of the Order which, on summary conviction in a magistrate’s court, carries a fine of up to £2,500.”
Following a number of recent incidents that have seen hundreds of tyres illegally dumped on roads in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area, local councillors have called on the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to do more to crack down on rogue tyre businesses.