- after Councils and the Department of the Environment fail to reach their targets on environmental protection.
Cllr Lawther warned: “There is the potential for Northern Ireland ratepayers to face huge fines for failing to reach E.C. recycling targets in the next few years, unless we take coherent action to address the problem properly.
“The people of Antrim are improving their recycling habits and have recycled more than any other Northern Ireland council area last month, but there is still room for improvement.
“This is why we have raised the issue of plastic bags in Councils across Northern Ireland, as discussed in Antrim yesterday. Just one plastic bag in a blue bin will contaminate the whole load in the lorry that picks it up and it will have to go to landfill. The Council – with the exception of DUP members – thought the polluter should pay and that we should write to the Secretary of State and ask him to investigate charging for non biodegradable plastic bags. The tax on plastic bags in the Republic of Ireland has reduced the use of plastic bags by up to 90%, an added advantage is that their countryside now looks much less littered and their towns much tidier.”
The DUP position on the issue is incomprehensible and irresponsible, explained Cllr Lawther: “It is unbelievable that the DUP opposed a measure that would make the Polluter pay, would reduce the litter problems, and help recycling measures and the avoidance of vast EC fines. For the sake of the NI ratepayer, let us hope that when devolution is restored we do not have a DUP Environment Minister!”