A Mid Ulster company has been deemed fit to handle a government waste management contract in spite of being found guilty of polluting Lough Neagh.
In February of this year, Clearcircle Environmental (NI) Limited, which operates Glassdon Recycling of Creagh Road, Toomebridge, pleaded guilty to polluting Lough Neagh and was fined £500 at court.
The company specialises in collecting and recycling waste glass and holds the contract for recycling the rubbish of six councils in the east of Northern Ireland as part of the umbrella group Arc 21, including Belfast City Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey, and Lisburn and Castlereagh borough councils.
Lough Neagh has been ranked among the most heavily polluted waters in Europe, according to new research.
Minister of the Environment Mark H Durkan said at the Northern Ireland Assembly that Glassdon Recycling had been assessed as ‘a suitable person’ to hold the contract in spite of the conviction.
The issue was raised by South Antrim DUP MLA Pam Cameron, who had asked for a ministerial assessment of the guilty verdict.
“Clearcircle Environmental (NI) Limited holds a number of waste authorisations for operations across Northern Ireland”, said Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.
“Holders of such authorisations must be ‘fit and proper persons’ and part of this test requires that convictions for specified offences are considered by the Department.
“The Department has considered the recent conviction of Clearcircle Environmental (NI) Limited under its Policy on Specified Offences and is satisfied that the company remains a suitable person to hold the authorisations.”