Ellis's Yard clean up set for the end of the month

Rubbish at Spring Lane, Cork. Ellis’s Yard site in Ballyvolane last year.

Work is to start before the end of the month on a full clean up of a site on the northside of Cork city where there has been persistent illegal dumping.

Huge volumes of household waste have been discarded at Ellis's Yard in Blackpool with local politicians raising fears about the health and safety impact on nearby residents, as well as the environmental damage in the area.

Previously, Cork City Council spent more than €500,000 between 2003 and 2014 on large-scale clean-ups at the site, with several other initiatives, including CCTV and new signage, employed since.

It is understood that the new works will include a full clean-up of the site, including the removal of all waste, and the erection of protective fencing bordering the site boundary to prevent future dumping.

The works come under the remit of the housing directorate at Cork City Council. Brian Geaney, the head of the council's housing department, said work will begin before the end of the month.

We have invited tenders to carry out the works. It is expected that these works will get underway in the coming weeks," he said.

No budget has been allocated for the clean-up but it is understood that discussions have taken place between Cork City Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning regarding funding.

In recent months, the issues at the site had been reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A spokesperson for the EPA said it had been directly contacted in September and November 2018 and had engaged with Cork City Council on the matter. Media reports last summer also shone a light on the dumping issues.

"The EPA requested updates from Cork City Council on the investigation and actions taken regarding the issues being raised about the site in July and November 2018," a spokesperson for the EPA said.

"More recently, Cork City Council informed the EPA that its housing department has received funding for a clean-up of the site. Cork City Council stated that this work is due to commence in January 2019 and will also include the erection of protective fencing bordering the site boundary."

Issues such as fly-tipping, illegal dumping and the burning of waste are the responsibility of the relevant local authority, as is any potential enforcement relating to such actions, the spokesperson added. The EPA's role is largely supervisory and can include carrying out assessments of environmental performance and providing advice or recommendations.

The rubbish at Ellis's Yard has frequently been the target of fires with the fire brigade called there on 90 occasions in 2018.

There has already been three callouts this year, according to local councillor Kenneth O'Flynn.

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