- About us
- Get involved
- Quarry tax outcome
- Wind farm for north coast
- North Down Dump on Scotland
- Written warning over pollution laws
- Northern Ireland in the dock
- Strangford Lough saved?
- GM maize approved
- Legal wranglings over illegal waste
- Europe issues legal warning
- Strangford trawling ban extended
- Water Service pollutes salmon river
- See you in court!
- Environmental governance inquiry gets underway
- Environment review moving fast
- EPA denied
- Belfast says No to incinerator
- Belfast makes waves for climate justice
- Planning and the climate challenge
- An evening well spent with Michael Meacher
- Green housing plan launched
- Tell world leaders to turn down the heat
- Mexican stand-off
- NI Water must not be immune from the law.
- People Power for Positive Planning
- Friends of the Earth launches its first plastic bag
- Assembly end of term report - must do better
- Activism Gathering 2011
- What do you think of the planning system?
- Green No Deal?
- A vision for the Programme for Government
- Come to a screening of 'Gasland'
- Plan it!
Northern Ireland in the dock
Friends of the Earth (Northern Ireland) has made an official complaint to the European Commission which could see Water Service being hauled before the Court of Justice over its appalling record on sewage.
An abysmal 35 per cent of Northern Ireland's sewage works comply with the European Union's Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive compared with 95 per cent in England and Wales. Put another way, tonnes of raw and badly treated sewage is pumped into Northern Ireland's waters every day.
The complaint is really a formal request to take the Government to court and marks the start of a long legal process. If the European Court of Justice rules against the UK the Commission will have the power to impose hefty fines if the breach is not rectified.
It is expected that the fines will be calculated using the UK's GDP but will be paid out of Northern Ireland's budget and will be in excess of £100,000 per day.
Meanwhile £160 million of critical sewage infrastructure work has been left to languish in limbo, waiting for private funding.
Northern Ireland's sewerage network needs a hefty cash injection to correct years of chronic neglect under direct rule. The threat of legal action and fines should be just the wake-up call required.