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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Ratepayers pick up bill after 500 tyres dumped at bonfire site in Ballymena

Ratepayers in Mid and East Antrim were left to foot a cleanup and disposal bill of thousands of pounds after approximately 500 tyres were illegally dumped at a bonfire site in Ballymena.

It is understood a lorry dumped the tyres during daylight hours on the afternoon of Friday 7th June at a bonfire in the Galgorm area of the town.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and local councils are responsible for dealing with the issue. The NIEA works to prevent the illegal dumping of tyres and partners with local councils to reduce the number of tyres burned on bonfires. Tyres are dumped usually by commercial operators who want to themselves avoid paying the costs to safely dispose of them.

In recent years the practise of burning tyres on bonfires has decreased significantly as awareness of the health risks posed to the local community, and also they environmental impacts have become better understood.

Tyres when burned release toxic fumes including benzene, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. Inhaling these fumes can lead to respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness, and even cancer. While environmentally, burning tyres can contaminate the soil and groundwater with heavy metals and other pollutants.

Local council staff were quickly on the scene last Friday afternoon and worked to clear the site.

Commenting on the incident, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said:

“Council was made aware of the illegal disposal of approximately 500 tyres last week. The total cost to collect and dispose of the tyres is around £3000.

“Council has a zero tolerance approach towards fly-tipping and illegal dumping across the Borough. Fly tipping is an eyesore for residents, damaging to habitats and costs MEA Council thousands of pounds in clean-up costs.

“Details of the incident have been referred to the Environmental Crime Unit at Northern Ireland Environment agency for investigation - offences such as this can result in imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding £50,000 - or both.”


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