Almost 100 incidents of pollution in Ballinderry- but only one conviction

The Ballinderry River which was polluted after a major slurry spill last Thursday.INMM1014-329SR
The Ballinderry River which was polluted after a major slurry spill last Thursday.INMM1014-329SR

Just one person was convicted for pollution of the Ballinderry over a five year period, when almost 100 incidents were detected, the Mid Ulster Mail can reveal.

According to figures from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), there have been 94 confirmed incidents of pollution in the Ballinderry river between 2009 and

The figures come, just weeks after a major slurry spill into the river, killing juvenile fish.

But, only one person has been convicted for three offences with fines imposed totalling £1900 and one person has been cautioned according to the NIEA.

However, in February this year a local farmer was handed a 21 months custodial sentence, suspended for three years and fined a total of £7,000 for seven separate pollution incidents at the river.

A spokesperson for the DOE told the MAIL said the great majority - almost three quarters - of the 94 incidents were of low severity, ‘typically domestic septic tanks or minor oil

The DOE spokesperson added: “The incidents were of such low and localised environmental impact that formal enforcement action such as prosecution was not appropriate.”

Mark Horton, from the Ballinderry River Enhancement Association (BREA) said they want to work to try and stop these types of incidents occurring in the future.

“Ballinderry Rivers Trust want to work with the community to prevent the pollution from happening in the first place. We do that through partnership working and education with the community. We want to see the wildlife thriving in the river, we want to see cleaner water quality and we want the community to benefit as a result of that,” he said.

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping the river clean. A good example is our fresh water pearl mussel project which is funded by the National lottery and the NIEA and is doing work in the upper parts of the river.

“A lot of land owners have been contributing in time and some materials to try and restore the river banks again.

“In some pollution cases they will be malicious but there is also a lot of good things going on at the river,” he concluded.