Dirty Business Spotlight


Dirty Business

In an investigation that stretches to eastern Europe, Alys Harte asks how one of the biggest illegal dumps in Europe ended up in scenic countryside outside Derry.


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Transcript


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2013 showed The Maiden City off in a new light.

:00:08.:00:18.

Street party after street party. The capital of the North West was

:00:19.:00:21.

rebranded as a modern and progressive City of Culture.

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A tourist destination. But just outside the city, officials

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were finally getting to grips with a shocking discovery.

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And an ugly truth was bubbling to the surface..

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A huge illegal dump - thought to be one of the largest single cases in

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Europe. The scale of this is beyond anything

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that has been seen before. It is something of biblical

:00:55.:00:57.

proportions. It is a festering mass of steaming, stinking, putrefying

:00:58.:01:00.

waste. Tonight, in an investigation that

:01:01.:01:03.

has taken us to Eastern Europe, we reveal how over 500,000 tonnes of

:01:04.:01:07.

illegal waste ended up in the scenic countryside of the North West.

:01:08.:01:15.

The moment it would get dark, they were starting to dump things till

:01:16.:01:17.

the morning. We ask how the authorities got it so

:01:18.:01:21.

wrong? A huge illegal dump in the area says we need to do better.

:01:22.:01:27.

And we track down some of those involved with the site, to look for

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answers. Mr Doherty you must be able to

:01:31.:01:33.

explain how 500,000 tonnes ended up in your land? If Excuse me, I don't

:01:34.:01:37.

want to be ignorant to you. Could you please leave the golf

:01:38.:01:39.

course? Disposal of waste is a controversial

:01:40.:02:07.

business in Derry. This group are objecting to proposals for the

:02:08.:02:12.

future of waste management. Last Halloween, they took to the streets,

:02:13.:02:14.

to campaign against the development of a new plant that would turn waste

:02:15.:02:20.

into gas. Trust me, it is not an incinerator!

:02:21.:02:26.

But just a few miles from the city centre, an example of how waste has

:02:27.:02:30.

been dealt with in the past is buried just beneath the surface.

:02:31.:02:36.

In June of last year, a recycling company was dramatically shut down

:02:37.:02:42.

overnight. Six months earlier, the directors of a quarry company across

:02:43.:02:47.

the road had been arrested. They were later released and have not

:02:48.:02:50.

been charged. The then-Minister, Alex Attwood, ordered a full-scale

:02:51.:02:53.

investigation of activities at the Derry site.

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The scale of environmental damage and vandalism is beyond what we have

:02:58.:03:00.

seen before and, consequently, we have taken unprecedented steps, in

:03:01.:03:04.

order to revoke the licence of a waste management company, so that

:03:05.:03:07.

any and all of those who were responsible for this criminal

:03:08.:03:17.

activity are all dealt with. At first glance, you would have no

:03:18.:03:21.

idea what has really been going on in this area for the last few years.

:03:22.:03:25.

But the truth is astonishing. Just over there is a dump containing an

:03:26.:03:28.

estimated 500,000 tonnes of illegal waste... About ten Titanics in

:03:29.:03:33.

weight. And the truth is, nobody even knows

:03:34.:03:37.

what is in there. The land being investigated

:03:38.:03:39.

stretches for almost 1.5 kilometres - as far as the eye can see. In

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order to appreciate the sheer scale of the dump, thought to be the one

:03:46.:03:49.

of the single biggest cases discovered in Europe, you have to

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look at it from another perspective. And that is just what I am about to

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do. We are, literally, pretty much

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parallel with the road here and then, we are going to pick up the

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Faughan River here and follow it down to Drumahoe.

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Just below, we can see where the River Faughan meets the River Foyle,

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just outside Derry city. All The river, famous for its salmon

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fishing, is Special Area of Conservation, the highest degree of

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protection set by Europe. The council may want this to be a

:04:28.:04:31.

tourist magnet, but from up here, you can see how other industries got

:04:32.:04:35.

here first. Industries like quarrying. It is

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quite shocking how close the River Faughan is to the quarry and the

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waste management company, given that the River Faughan is a major

:04:44.:04:46.

drinking water source for the people of Derry.

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Two companies on the Mobuoy Road are at the heart of a criminal

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investigation. The quarry company seen here on the

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left, Campsie Sand Gravel, is owned by a man called Paul Doherty.

:05:05.:05:08.

Across the road is a recycling company, City Industrial Waste, that

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was paid by seven different councils, including Derry, to

:05:12.:05:12.

process recyclables. Paul Doherty initially owned City

:05:13.:05:20.

Waste, but in 2004 he sold it to these men, Gerry Farmer and Gerry

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O'Malley, from Armagh. Journalist Kevin Mullan says there was no

:05:28.:05:30.

reason to believe City Waste was anything other than a good news

:05:31.:05:33.

story. They were the poster boys, in terms

:05:34.:05:38.

of their own industry. They were painted as extremely professional.

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We assumed they were. Local press covered them and were quite gushing

:05:43.:05:47.

about their investment. As was only correct, I suppose, in the sense

:05:48.:05:50.

that they were employing people, they were making things here. But

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little did we know what was coming down the line.

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Sources have told Spotlight that investigators have found rubbish

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belonging to City Waste buried in one of Paul Doherty's quarries. We

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understand making the connection was a painstaking process and, in a

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statement in June, the DoE said the material was shredded, to disguise

:06:11.:06:13.

where it came from, Gerry Farmer, Gerry O'Malley and Paul Doherty

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strenuously deny any allegations of criminality.

:06:17.:06:24.

So how did 500,000 tonnes of illegal waste get there? For the last four

:06:25.:06:29.

months, we have been piecing together evidence, including

:06:30.:06:31.

eye-witness accounts, which suggest that, whoever was responsible, this

:06:32.:06:33.

was a complex and sophisticated scam. We have tracked down former

:06:34.:06:41.

workers from inside both companies. No-one has spoken publicly about

:06:42.:06:46.

what they say happened. Until now. Many of those processing rubbish at

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City Waste were Polish. Former workers we have interviewed have

:06:51.:06:53.

asked that we disguise their identities. "Tomak" says that,

:06:54.:06:57.

instead of being transported to lawful landfill, rubbish was

:06:58.:07:00.

shredded on site, loaded on to small dumper trucks, covered over and

:07:01.:07:04.

hidden with clay and dumped on the Mobuoy Road.

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I seen it being loaded and, even when they passed you, you know, you

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seen rubbish sticking out. Sometimes it was covered better than others,

:07:15.:07:19.

but you, you knew what it was. When the dumper trucks left the

:07:20.:07:22.

yard, what happened? They went out and the only place

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they went was either across to Campsie Sand Gravel or up to the

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dump. The "dump" is a disused quarry,

:07:29.:07:31.

owned by Paul Doherty, on the same side of the road as City Waste and

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accessed through the shared gate. Our source says you could not miss

:07:38.:07:41.

the trucks coming and going between the two companies.

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From what I seen, it was going on every day. There were dump trucks

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going every day, bar the days that NIEA was there.

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The NIEA is the Environment Agency within the Department of the

:07:55.:07:58.

Environment. It is their responsibility to keep an eye on

:07:59.:08:02.

sites like these and prevent illegal dumping. But according to our

:08:03.:08:07.

source, it was easy to get around the regulators. And when the

:08:08.:08:11.

inspectors left? That was business as usual - get the

:08:12.:08:13.

dumpers going. I had managed to track down another

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worker from inside City Waste who claimed to have witnessed rubbish

:08:24.:08:25.

from the company actually being illegally buried in Paul Doherty's

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quarries. I wanted to hear in detail his account of what he saw and Pawel

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agreed to be interviewed, in Poland's second city, Krakow.

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TRANSLATION: I was a witness, I have basically seen it happening. Plus,

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everybody was talking about it. It was basically shredded waste.

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Domestic waste, food, plastic bottles - anything you can find in

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any waste, basically. We have been told the site manager

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in charge of co-ordinating the dumping operation at City Waste was

:09:06.:09:08.

also Polish - this man, Radoslaw Dudzic, also known as Radek. Gerry

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Farmer and Gerry O'Malley were company directors, but our sources

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have told us that Radek was given a free hand to direct the Polish

:09:20.:09:22.

workers. So Radek coordinated the dumping?

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He told the people what to do. They didn't do anything without him

:09:28.:09:32.

telling them what to do. He was the one in charge. He was the one who

:09:33.:09:36.

was responsible for most of the things going on on site, And the

:09:37.:09:40.

people he was employing, all of them were Polish people.

:09:41.:09:44.

According to workers, instead of being processed properly, vast

:09:45.:09:47.

quantities of waste would simply vanish from the site overnight.

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At the end of the week, when you left, the shed would have been full

:09:55.:09:58.

of rubbish. And you come back in on a Monday, there would have been

:09:59.:10:03.

about half the rubbish gone. But waste was hidden in other ways

:10:04.:10:07.

on the site, too. We have obtained a copy of the notice issued to City

:10:08.:10:11.

Waste when their licence was revoked in June. It reveals that the site

:10:12.:10:15.

itself is effectively built on waste. Tens of thousands of tonnes

:10:16.:10:19.

of were hidden in different parts of the site, beneath bales, behind

:10:20.:10:22.

sheds and even used to construct banks at the edge of the yard.

:10:23.:10:26.

Spotlight understands that the NIEA asked Gerry Farmer whether he

:10:27.:10:30.

noticed these banks growing around him. He insists that he did not. Our

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ex-workers claim the illegal dumping was an open secret. How much

:10:40.:10:46.

knowledge do you think that the management had about what was going

:10:47.:10:47.

on? They knew everything. They knew

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where the rubbish was going and what was going on.

:10:52.:10:55.

Gerry Farmer was there all, all the time. The more He was, he was one of

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the first ones in the yards in the morning and one of the last to leave

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at night. Than The amount of cameras they had over the place.. They say

:11:05.:11:10.

they do not know what was going on. It is lies.

:11:11.:11:14.

Is it possible that Gerry Farmer and Gerry O'Malley were not aware of the

:11:15.:11:19.

illegal operation on site? I think, no. I think they knew. I

:11:20.:11:23.

think they must have known. We tried to speak to Radek Dudzic,

:11:24.:11:27.

Gerry Farmer and Gerry O'Malley about their actions at City Waste.

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Radek did not respond to our e-mails or letters. Sources say he has left

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the country and is building a new house in Poland. Company directors

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Gerry Farmer and Gerry O'Malley told us, via their solicitor, that they

:11:40.:11:42.

could not comment, due to the ongoing investigation. In fact,

:11:43.:11:47.

there is no legal reason as to why they cannot speak to us I mean, they

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can if they want to, so I am just coming up to Gerry Farmer's house.

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He lives in Donegal, just across the border.There is no response at the

:11:56.:12:01.

door. If there is someone in, they are not answering. So, I am going to

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leave another letter for Gerry Farmer, which is just one in a long

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list we have sent to him. Gerry Farmer's car was parked at his gate.

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A pair of workman's boots lay just inside the front door and there were

:12:16.:12:21.

fresh footprints in the snow. We're just on our way now down to the

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South Armagh border now where Gerry O'Malley lives. Let's see if he will

:12:26.:12:40.

speak with us. Hello? Good morning. Alys Harte from BBC Spotlight. I'd

:12:41.:12:44.

just like to ask you a few questions please. The lights at the house have

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just gone out so I'm not sure we're going to get a response. We've

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written letters and emails to him asking questions about Mobuoy Road.

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We haven't had any answers to our questions. It doesn't look like they

:13:05.:13:11.

want to speak with us. What happened at Mobuoy Road has serious

:13:12.:13:14.

implications for all of us. Since its closure, the DOE has been

:13:15.:13:17.

cleaning up the City Waste site in an effort to prevent potential

:13:18.:13:20.

pollutants from reaching the river. When rainwater seeps through dumps

:13:21.:13:23.

like this, gases and bacteria from the decomposing waste dissolve in

:13:24.:13:30.

the water. This highly toxic run-off, known as leachate, can then

:13:31.:13:35.

contaminate streams and rivers. Since the investigation started,

:13:36.:13:37.

pollution has been discovered in this tributary which runs just

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beside where City Waste used to operate. Dean Blackwood has been

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fishing the River Faughan for years. This is my river. I've grown up on

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it since I suppose 45, 50 years, I remember my father brought me out

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here and I learned to fish. Now you can see I'm bringing my sun out to

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fish. I hope some day he will bring his children but to the river. I

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think it's just something that's always been in me, just sitting with

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a stick on a line on a hook and lemon curd sandwiches, that was just

:14:20.:14:23.

that was my river and it still is my river. Dean believes the planning

:14:24.:14:26.

authorities let Paul Doherty off the hook. Oh! I lost him. Doherty

:14:27.:14:34.

quarried into his land here along the river for over a decade. These

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quarries needed planning permission. Which Doherty didn't have. He may be

:14:38.:14:41.

a keen fisherman, but Dean also wears another hat. Up until March of

:14:42.:14:46.

last year, he was a Principal Planning Officer at the DOE. Since

:14:47.:14:54.

his early retirement, he's taken a special interest in what happened

:14:55.:14:58.

here at Mobuoy Road, and how huge quarries have operated for years

:14:59.:15:00.

here with no planning permission whatsoever. They are quarrying

:15:01.:15:03.

without permission. And it is important to realise at this stage

:15:04.:15:06.

that planning law does not forbid that as such. It is these

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unauthorised quarried holes which have become home to huge amounts of

:15:10.:15:12.

illegal waste. The problem, I suppose, has been that they have

:15:13.:15:15.

been allowed to continue to operate and quarry for a period of around 11

:15:16.:15:20.

years, or possibly more. Do you think that without these

:15:21.:15:23.

unauthorised holes in the ground, do you think that the illegal dumping

:15:24.:15:26.

would have happened? It couldn't have happened, no, it couldn't have

:15:27.:15:31.

happened. In fact, 60% of all current quarry operations in

:15:32.:15:33.

Northern Ireland have no planning permission. Dean thinks the Planning

:15:34.:15:38.

Department has a lot to answer for at Mobuoy Road. By operating that

:15:39.:15:43.

policy of not taking action against unauthorised development, it clearly

:15:44.:15:45.

leaves the department complicit in the damage that's being caused here

:15:46.:15:49.

and permanent threat that is now being posed to our river. The

:15:50.:15:55.

Planning Department says unauthorised mineral extraction is

:15:56.:15:58.

of concern to it, but suggested we ask the quarry industry why it was

:15:59.:16:03.

so common. They say it places a strain on existing staff resources

:16:04.:16:06.

but are restructuring to allocate more resources to enforcement. They

:16:07.:16:12.

fully accept that a lack of joined-up thinking between planning

:16:13.:16:15.

and the Environment Agency meant they failed to deal with this

:16:16.:16:21.

illegal activity effectively. But it wasn't only planning who took their

:16:22.:16:28.

eye off the ball at Mobuoy Road. A recent independent report

:16:29.:16:30.

commissioned by the Minister into the failings of the DOE in this case

:16:31.:16:34.

found that both planners and the site regulators failed to do their

:16:35.:16:38.

job. The author Chris Mills found that lax planning provided holes in

:16:39.:16:41.

the ground that were then exploited, and a regulator that wasn't looking

:16:42.:16:47.

closely enough. Spotlight has uncovered evidence that shows that

:16:48.:16:50.

directors from both companies should have been on the department's radar.

:16:51.:16:56.

Paul Doherty was prosecuted by the Department for pollution arising

:16:57.:16:59.

from illegal dumping at Mobuoy Road in 2000. This file shows

:17:00.:17:05.

investigators found a dead calf, car exhausts, tyres and computer screens

:17:06.:17:08.

dumped at the site and described the pollution as "very serious" and of

:17:09.:17:15.

"high severity". Gerry Farmer and Gerry O'Malley were convicted in

:17:16.:17:18.

2012 for illegally storing over half a million tyres. In both cases, the

:17:19.:17:29.

prosecutions were taken by the DOE. Dr Ciara Brennan is an environmental

:17:30.:17:33.

lawyer with expertise in this area. Regardless of who is responsible for

:17:34.:17:36.

burying waste at Mobuoy Road, she thinks the current system makes

:17:37.:17:39.

illegal dumping attractive to criminals. Landfill tax has

:17:40.:17:45.

gradually increased over the last few years. It is now at about ?72 a

:17:46.:17:49.

tonne. It is designed to be a disincentive for companies and waste

:17:50.:17:52.

management companies to get rid of their waste by landfill. But at the

:17:53.:17:58.

same time, it is also an incentive for people to try to avoid paying

:17:59.:18:01.

any landfill tax whatsoever. There are very big incentives for

:18:02.:18:04.

companies to try to avoid paying landfill tax, it is considered an

:18:05.:18:09.

overhead. But whenever you come to a site like this where we know there

:18:10.:18:13.

is over half a million tonnes of illegally dumped waste, that is half

:18:14.:18:16.

a million tonnes of waste that have not been subject to landfill tax.

:18:17.:18:20.

And that is tens of millions of pounds the public purse has missed

:18:21.:18:25.

out on. And that is before we take into account what they were paid by

:18:26.:18:29.

the council to dispose of the waste in the first place. Exactly. So they

:18:30.:18:33.

have essentially profited twice. When the gates of City Waste were

:18:34.:18:36.

dramatically closed last summer, it came as a shock to many. But it

:18:37.:18:40.

shouldn't have been a shock to the Environment Agency. Under Freedom of

:18:41.:18:43.

Information, Spotlight has obtained paperwork from site visits by the

:18:44.:18:50.

Agency for the last seven years. These inspection reports show that

:18:51.:18:53.

the Agency knew for years that this was a problematic site. City Waste

:18:54.:18:59.

broke the same rules over and over. And the Agency's response was weak.

:19:00.:19:03.

Any written warnings given by inspectors seemed to fall on deaf

:19:04.:19:06.

ears and ultimately did little to bring the company into line. This

:19:07.:19:12.

was a site heaving with compliance issues. These photos show how waste

:19:13.:19:17.

got so out of hand, the company had to build a shed around the rubbish.

:19:18.:19:23.

It reached crisis point in 2010 when a major fire occurred on site. --

:19:24.:19:33.

three major fires occurred on site. E-mails between the Environment

:19:34.:19:36.

Agency and City Waste catalogue a series of compliance demands from

:19:37.:19:39.

the NIEA and a series of excuses from City Waste. I am in the USA and

:19:40.:19:45.

the compliance manager is on vacation. Unfortunately due to me

:19:46.:19:48.

getting delayed by a hurricane, this didn't happen. In March 2011, the

:19:49.:19:54.

NIEA are beginning to run out of patience. I would warn you this

:19:55.:19:59.

level of tolerance is now nearing an end. The new boss at the Agency

:20:00.:20:04.

agrees that more could and should have been done. We can't argue that

:20:05.:20:08.

we didn't do a good enough job here. There is a serious level of illegal

:20:09.:20:12.

dumping, there is a track record of noncompliance at the waste facility

:20:13.:20:16.

site. We do need to fix our system. But was it good enough in this

:20:17.:20:20.

instance? I wasn't here at the time. But you are in charge now. I am in

:20:21.:20:25.

charge now. What I am doing is looking at this case. We will take

:20:26.:20:29.

advice from the Mills Report and we need to get tougher and better on

:20:30.:20:32.

those who are breaking the law. It wasn't until Spring 2012 that the

:20:33.:20:36.

truth of the illegal dump began to surface. A planning official noticed

:20:37.:20:39.

methane gas actually bubbling up through a disused quarry - a sign

:20:40.:20:42.

that decomposing rubbish was fermenting underground. But the

:20:43.:20:48.

Mills Report listed a string of opportunities missed by the

:20:49.:20:50.

department going back years, that could have led to its discovery much

:20:51.:20:52.

earlier. During our investigation we

:20:53.:21:02.

uncovered a letter to the NIEA from a government agency back in 2008.

:21:03.:21:09.

The letter clearly warned of the possibility of material being

:21:10.:21:14.

shredded and disposed of on site. This should have been a major red

:21:15.:21:16.

flag to the authorities. I asked the author of the letter,

:21:17.:21:26.

John McCartney, of the Loughs Agency, what he had expected to

:21:27.:21:31.

happen. I suppose in an ideal world an investigation undertaken, a

:21:32.:21:34.

subsequent prosecution or a response to say there wasn't an issue, that

:21:35.:21:37.

we were misinformed or our concerns were unjustified. The NIEA says is

:21:38.:21:50.

has no record of having received the Loughs Agency letter. This is a

:21:51.:21:55.

government body telling the agency that they suspect that there is

:21:56.:21:58.

illegal dumping and shredding of waste, which is exactly what

:21:59.:22:04.

happened. I can't change the past. I know we need to do better. That is

:22:05.:22:09.

very clear. John is concerned about pollution already detected in a

:22:10.:22:12.

tributary that flows into the River Faughan. There is a real fear that

:22:13.:22:18.

we could wake up one morning and find the fish population have been

:22:19.:22:22.

wiped out in the river. That is the absolute worst case scenario, but in

:22:23.:22:25.

the absence of any real information, we have to consider that as a

:22:26.:22:33.

possibility. Ciara Brennan says whoever the illegal operators might

:22:34.:22:36.

have been, she is shocked at the response of the Department, given

:22:37.:22:41.

the combination of warning signs. It amazes me that no meaningful

:22:42.:22:44.

enforcement action was taken before 2012. And the fact that these

:22:45.:22:49.

reports and these warnings go back almost ten years is highly

:22:50.:22:52.

concerning because essentially the illegal operator was able to

:22:53.:22:55.

continue to make money, to make huge profits and continue polluting and

:22:56.:22:58.

harming the environment without really any ramifications, despite

:22:59.:23:00.

all of these warning signs for so many years. The head of Friends of

:23:01.:23:10.

the Earth says the DOE is dysfunctional. Here we have a

:23:11.:23:14.

classic case that should have been predicted, where strong agents

:23:15.:23:17.

within the system were calling for action for many years and those

:23:18.:23:20.

agents within the system were neutralised or completely ignored. I

:23:21.:23:25.

think these things are inevitable when we have what I would describe

:23:26.:23:28.

as a complete breakdown in environmental regulation in Northern

:23:29.:23:29.

Ireland. We'll probably never know all the

:23:30.:23:43.

secrets of the dump at Mobuoy Road. The notice that closed City Waste

:23:44.:23:46.

said suspected asbestos was found on site. We've spoken to sources who

:23:47.:23:52.

say they saw what they believe was chemical waste and medical waste

:23:53.:23:56.

dumped on site. The truth is, no-one knows. Since the licence was revoked

:23:57.:24:02.

back in June, the NIEA has been investigating Gerry O'Malley, Gerry

:24:03.:24:05.

Farmer, and quarry boss Paul Doherty and his wife Margaret. But in a

:24:06.:24:12.

remarkable twist to the story, Spotlight has discovered that within

:24:13.:24:15.

months of the beginning of the NIEA investigation, Paul Doherty sold one

:24:16.:24:19.

of the quarries that harboured a lot of the illegal waste. The law says

:24:20.:24:25.

that if you own the land, you're responsible for any illegal dumping

:24:26.:24:29.

on it. A Polish man, Waldemar Piecki, bought the contaminated

:24:30.:24:31.

field for ?26,000 in November 2012 - lands Paul Doherty had himself paid

:24:32.:24:42.

?200,000 for in 2009. It's unclear as to whether or not Mr Piecki, who

:24:43.:24:46.

is said to be a vagrant, knew the land contained illegal waste before

:24:47.:24:51.

he bought it. Paul Doherty refuses to answer any of our questions. Like

:24:52.:24:55.

Gerry Farmer and Gerry O'Malley, he strenuously denies all allegations

:24:56.:24:58.

of criminality or that his actions resulted in environmental harm,

:24:59.:25:01.

public health risk or implications for the public purse. His solicitor

:25:02.:25:07.

cites the ongoing criminal investigation as a reason not to

:25:08.:25:10.

comment, but there's no legal reason why he can't speak to us if he wants

:25:11.:25:15.

to. Hello, Mr Doherty. My name is Alys

:25:16.:25:19.

Harte. I'm a reporter from BBC Spotlight. I'd just like to ask you

:25:20.:25:23.

how half a million tonnes of illegal waste ended up in your land on the

:25:24.:25:27.

Mobuoy Road. I've nothing to say to you. You can go and speak to my

:25:28.:25:31.

solicitor, please. How did half a million tonnes of illegal waste end

:25:32.:25:35.

up in your land? Would you go and speak to my solicitor, please? We

:25:36.:25:38.

have done. I've written letters to you for months, Mr Doherty. Look,

:25:39.:25:41.

would you please leave the golf course. You're standing on a green.

:25:42.:25:44.

That's a putting green. Mr Doherty... We're all wearing golf

:25:45.:25:47.

shoes. You're not. Please get off the golf course. You must be able to

:25:48.:25:51.

explain how the waste ended up in your land. Mr Doherty... Would you

:25:52.:25:55.

please leave this golf course? Do we have to call the guards? If we have

:25:56.:25:59.

to, that's what we'll have to do. Would you like to talk to us off the

:26:00.:26:04.

golf course, Mr Doherty? Please leave the golf course. It's clear

:26:05.:26:08.

that lack of effective regulation played a major role in events at

:26:09.:26:13.

Mobuoy Road. The NIEA and Derry Council both have a responsibility

:26:14.:26:17.

to make sure that when it comes to waste management, people stick to

:26:18.:26:22.

the rules. How waste is disposed of in future has been mapped out by a

:26:23.:26:27.

group of seven North West councils. And just three miles from the Mobuoy

:26:28.:26:31.

Road, plans are under way to build a large-scale plant that would turn

:26:32.:26:41.

waste into gas. But the technology is controversial and some locals are

:26:42.:26:45.

petitioning against the plant. I'm not just coming for Hallowe'en! Up

:26:46.:26:50.

for grabs is a ?500 million contract - the biggest of its kind in

:26:51.:26:53.

Northern Ireland's history. A consortium of companies, including

:26:54.:26:56.

Derry-based bin collectors Brickkiln Waste Ltd, has been declared

:26:57.:27:02.

"preferred bidder". When we spoke to local councillor and former Derry

:27:03.:27:05.

Mayor Shaun Gallagher, he was leading the charge for the new

:27:06.:27:09.

plant. Throughout his career he has taken a special interest in waste

:27:10.:27:13.

management. He has represented local government on waste matters at the

:27:14.:27:16.

Executive, and until recently advised the Minister as vice chair

:27:17.:27:19.

of the Northern Ireland Waste Programme Board. I live here, where

:27:20.:27:29.

the plantains. -- where the plant is. I am across the river from it. I

:27:30.:27:34.

am not going to poison myself, I am not going to poison my children, and

:27:35.:27:38.

if somebody can come up with a better plan, we are all ears. But

:27:39.:27:41.

what do we know about Brickkiln? Spotlight has discovered that the

:27:42.:27:45.

company has been involved in a legal dispute with Derry Council over

:27:46.:27:47.

accusations of overcharging. We've seen a leaked legal opinion which

:27:48.:27:50.

details that Derry City Council received an anonymous tip-off from a

:27:51.:27:53.

whistle-blower back in 2011. According to the document, the

:27:54.:27:55.

council commissioned an independent investigation into the allegations,

:27:56.:27:58.

which concluded that Brickkiln appeared to be charging the council

:27:59.:28:02.

for waste that was not theirs. The leaked document details how CCTV

:28:03.:28:05.

footage appeared to show Brickkiln lorries arriving in their yard

:28:06.:28:07.

already partially loaded with waste and being topped up with Derry City

:28:08.:28:14.

Council waste. It says they wrote to Brickkiln accusing them of passing

:28:15.:28:16.

off waste from other sources as theirs. In the barrister's opinion,

:28:17.:28:20.

the evidence was sufficient to terminate the contract. Derry City

:28:21.:28:24.

Council officials declined to be interviewed for this programme, and

:28:25.:28:28.

claimed not yet to be in a position to release the investigation report

:28:29.:28:31.

to Spotlight.? But in writing, they told us that very serious

:28:32.:28:33.

consideration was given to terminating the contract with

:28:34.:28:36.

Brickkiln and that they had referred the matter to the police and to the

:28:37.:28:42.

NIEA. The council say that no criminal activity could be

:28:43.:28:45.

determined, and in the end, they chose to settle the case with

:28:46.:28:49.

Brickkiln. But the council did confirm that it withheld ?30,000

:28:50.:28:52.

initially billed by Brickkiln because the company was unable to

:28:53.:28:54.

provide satisfactory documentation for the invoices in question. I

:28:55.:29:03.

asked Shaun Gallagher about the council's legal dispute with

:29:04.:29:09.

Brickkiln. I know for a fact that legal dispute was settled out of

:29:10.:29:14.

court. Derry Council had evidence that Brickkiln was charging for

:29:15.:29:17.

waste that was not theirs. I am not aware of that. As elected members,

:29:18.:29:22.

we haven't got any of that detail. You haven't been told about the... I

:29:23.:29:26.

am not aware of it, no, I haven't. Well, Derry Council commissioned the

:29:27.:29:30.

report. I am not going into it because we have very strict

:29:31.:29:33.

guidelines given to us as elected members as far as the North West bid

:29:34.:29:37.

is concerned and we can't comment until that process is processed and

:29:38.:29:40.

basically if you put those questions to them... I know, but you should

:29:41.:29:45.

know this, you are on the waste management group.

:29:46.:29:48.

Shaun Gallagher was the Derry City representative on the coalition of

:29:49.:29:51.

councils who decided the half a billion pound contract. Derry

:29:52.:29:55.

Council has confirmed to Spotlight that all elected members were

:29:56.:29:58.

advised of the findings of the independent investigation. The legal

:29:59.:30:03.

dispute lasted at least a year and a half,?and an argument about

:30:04.:30:06.

arbitration ended up in the High Court. There, the judge referred to

:30:07.:30:09.

the council's contention that Brickkiln had engaged in possibly

:30:10.:30:12.

criminal acts - an allegation that Brickkiln denied. At the end of the

:30:13.:30:22.

day, I am not aware of any of that. Should you have been made aware of

:30:23.:30:26.

it? I am not going to comment, on record or anything on it. But why

:30:27.:30:30.

not, if this is the company that is involved in the consortium? You know

:30:31.:30:34.

what is happening here? Is this an ambush, is this an ambush on myself?

:30:35.:30:38.

No. Well, I feel like I am being ambushed here, so we will probably

:30:39.:30:42.

end this now. But you are the Derry City Council representative, that is

:30:43.:30:45.

why I am asking. No. We will just end it now, OK, thank you. After the

:30:46.:30:49.

interview, Shaun Gallagher wrote to Spotlight and asked us not to

:30:50.:30:52.

broadcast any part of it. He claimed the questions were not what he

:30:53.:30:56.

expected. He says he now accepts he must have missed the detail of the

:30:57.:30:59.

report given by the council about the Brickkiln dispute and puts that

:31:00.:31:02.

down to human air. -- mistake. Brickkiln Waste Ltd has three sister

:31:03.:31:05.

companies based at their headquarters on Heather Road. The

:31:06.:31:09.

director of all four companies is a man called Thomas McGlinchey. During

:31:10.:31:11.

our investigation, Spotlight has discovered that one of those

:31:12.:31:13.

companies, Brickkiln Civil Engineering Ltd, was convicted of

:31:14.:31:16.

illegal dumping in Donegal last year. The company pleaded guilty to

:31:17.:31:23.

the offences, which took place on the Inishowen Penninsula. Brickkiln

:31:24.:31:27.

Civil Engineering Ltd also had a 2006 conviction under the Waste and

:31:28.:31:34.

Contaminated Land Order. We wrote to the director of Brickkiln, Tommy

:31:35.:31:37.

McGlinchey, asking him about the dispute with Derry City Council. His

:31:38.:31:41.

solicitor wrote back and said Brickkiln Waste Ltd had to issue

:31:42.:31:44.

proceedings in the High Court against Derry Council and that this

:31:45.:31:48.

action was settled by the parties in 2013 by the payment of a substantial

:31:49.:31:56.

sum to Brickkiln. They also said that they could not comment on the

:31:57.:31:59.

ongoing procurement as the project has not yet closed. We asked them

:32:00.:32:04.

about the convictions on both sides of the border and whether they had

:32:05.:32:07.

informed the councils and the North West management group about them.

:32:08.:32:10.

The solicitor confirmed the convictions but said they related to

:32:11.:32:12.

Brickkiln Civil Engineering Ltd, which "is not part of any

:32:13.:32:16.

consortium, nor has it tendered to the North West Management Group".

:32:17.:32:23.

What they didn't say, of course, is that the two companies both have a

:32:24.:32:27.

director called Thomas McGlinchey and are based at the same address at

:32:28.:32:31.

Heather Road. We asked the North West Waste Management Group if they

:32:32.:32:34.

were aware of Brickkiln Civil Engineering's convictions. In a

:32:35.:32:37.

statement they said, "Before final award of contract, we would complete

:32:38.:32:41.

a considerable number of further due diligence checks" and "we are making

:32:42.:32:44.

inquiries in relation to the events relating to Brickkiln" and that "it

:32:45.:32:47.

would be inappropriate to comment further until fully appraised of the

:32:48.:32:55.

facts". What's clear is that we need to learn lessons from how scenic

:32:56.:32:58.

countryside around Mobuoy Road has become home to one of Europe's

:32:59.:33:03.

biggest illegal dumps. Taxpayers can expect to cough up in the region of

:33:04.:33:06.

?100 million to clear out contaminated lands at Mobuoy Road.

:33:07.:33:12.

As the Department of the Environment considers criticisms of its

:33:13.:33:15.

regulation, Derry is left to ponder the unknown, buried underneath its

:33:16.:33:16.

feet.

:33:17.:33:21.

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