Other News In Brief

Mash Direct Fined For Illegal Sewer Discharge

A company in Comber has been hit with a £2,000 fine for two breaches of discharge consent to sewers.

Food manufacturer Mash Direct pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday, 13 February, after what NI Water described as an "extremely long and frustrating case".

Explaining more about the charges, Angela Halpenny, Head of Environmental Regulation at NI Water said: "This illegal activity by Mash Direct shows a complete disrespect for the sewer network we all share. This has been an extremely long and frustrating case. Despite engagement with Mash Direct over a long period of time, the breach of discharge consent was not resolved, which has led to today's proceedings being taken by NI Water.

"NI Water takes any interference in the performance of its sewer network very seriously and as today shows, if necessary, we will prosecute anyone who does. The irresponsible actions of this company towards our assets and those residents living around the area is not a victimless crime and have been reflected in today's judgment and fine.

"As guardians of Northern Ireland's wastewater network, our priority has and always will be to protect and enhance the natural environment by taking away wastewater, treating it and safely recycling it back into the natural environment, without causing nuisance. If this is threatened in any way, we will step in to resolve it."

Mash Direct received a fine of £1,000 for both charges and were ordered to pay £900 legal costs.

NI Water has appealed for anyone with knowledge of illegal discharges to the sewerage network to report this to Waterline on 03457 440088 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Translink Welcomes New Interim Chairman

Translink has welcomed the appointment of Dr Mark Sweeney OBE as interim Chairman for the Translink Group following his appointment by Nichola Mallon, Minister for Infrastructure.
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Welcoming the appointment, Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive said: "Mark has served as a non-Executive Director on our Board for four years and has brought a wealth of experience and expertise to help us successfully deliver our corporate strategy to transform public transport to be the first choice for travel.

"Sustainable public transport is central to the daily lives of many people in Northern Ireland and essential for the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the region. These are key pillars in the delivery of the Programme for Government and for tacking climate change and air pollution.

"As we move forward, we look forward to working with Mark in his new role as Chair to build on recent achievements and to realise the clear benefits of public transport to more people across NI and beyond."

Minister Poots Urged To Voice Commitment To Climate Change Act

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has come under pressure to publicly commit to delivering a Climate Change Act.

This call comes after a bid for funding was made by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for funding to begin work on developing a Climate Change Act.

Sinn Féin representative Caoimhe Archibald MLA welcomed the progress, but warned it will "mean little" without a commitment to deliver the Act.

The East Derry MLA said: "The delivery of legislation to set robust and enforceable emissions reduction targets to tackle the climate emergency should be a primary priority for the minister.

"However, having refused to commit to the delivery of a Climate Change Act on several occasions since the restoration of the Assembly, it is clear the minister is dragging his feet on this issue.

"This Assembly has declared a climate emergency, the time for dithering and delay is long past.

"I am once again calling on the minister to fulfil his obligations to the Assembly and to the public, and deliver a Climate Change Act as a matter of urgency."


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