FARMERS thinking about using tyres to hold down silo covers should consider telling DoE that they are storing them for an Eleventh Night bonfire – because this way, they won’t have to buy a special permit, according to Alliance.
David Ford, Alliance Leader and Agriculture Spokesman, has accused the Department of the Environment of hypocrisy over its failure to tackle the problems created by bonfires in Northern Ireland. Burning tyres release poisonous dioxins into the air.
Mr Ford said: “Recently, it was announced that farmers who collect tyres to cover silos after this summer will have to pay a fee of over £300 for a licence. Using tyres in this way is a practice that has been going on for decades, causes no environmental damage and provides a valid use for old tyres.
“So a farmer who collects a dozen tyres to hold down a silo cover next year will have to pay £300, while someone who burns hundreds on a bonfire, causing damage, nuisance and air pollution can do so with impunity.
“Even though the second-hand tyre market collapses during the summer in Northern Ireland because of bonfire collections, law-abiding cash-strapped farmers will have to fork out hundreds for a licence in order to hold down a plastic sheet. That is plainly ridiculous.
“The logical thing to do would be for farmers to claim that they are simply storing the tyres for an Eleventh Night bonfire. As we all know, that is bound to guarantee legal immunity, as the DoE itself issued guidelines on how to safely break the law yesterday.
“The attitude of the DoE amounts to total hypocrisy. The way they use the word ‘Environment’ reminds me of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.”
Mr Ford added: “The publication of yesterday’s guidelines on bonfires represents a total failure to enforce the law and protect the environment by the Department. Despite the fact that there is hardly a bonfire which is legal, there is clearly no intention to take action against them.
“Instead, we have pious hopes and weasel words about ‘consulting the community’. We know what that means: it means allowing those who want to, to break the law. It doesn’t mean consulting those whose area is blighted by litter and rubbish for several months and whose air quality is ruined when the bonfire is lit.
“This is in sharp contrast to the Department’s attitude towards those who seek to work within the law.”