Councillors call for action and answers on local bonfires

The bonfire in Ballyduff which had to be moved after serious safety concerns. INNT 27-064-PSB
The bonfire in Ballyduff which had to be moved after serious safety concerns. INNT 27-064-PSB

Councillors are to demand answers from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) on what action is taken on companies dumping tyres.

They have resolved to write to the organisation and the Environment Minister to raise concerns about problems with local bonfires.

The move comes after the council stepped in to move the bonfire in Ballyduff after serious safety concerns were raised about the size of the structure and its proximity to homes.

Councillors were informed that a meeting took place between representatives, residents, statutory agencies, and the bonfire builders after “significant media interest”.

The bonfire was subsequently dismantled and a smaller pyre built further away and a meeting has been planned for August to find a permanent solution.

Councillor Robert Hill, proposed writing to ask the NIEA what measures it had in place to trace dumped tyres and why the procedure was “obviously failing”.

“Someone is clearly making a gain given the amount of tyres on bonfires.”

Billy Webb added: “I attended a meeting recently with the Housing Executive, the NIEA and the police and the subject of bonfires was raised.

“And it is clear that no one is prepared to take action.

“Now a threshold has been set where you can commit a crime and get away with it.”

During the debate the council’s chief executive, Jacqui Dixon, said costs on moving the Ballyduff bonfire were being calculated and a bill would be sent to the Department of Environment to cover all expenditure.

DUP representative Hill added: “The council had to act, that was clear, to do nothing would have been unforgivable.”

Alliance representative Billy Webb said: “Whoever put the stuff there in the first place should be billed and made to pay for all the costs.”