Northern Ireland

Fears bonfire dumping at Co Antrim beauty spot poses risk to wildlife

Local authorities and the PSNI have failed to stop the fly tipping at the site

The illegal bonfire site, owned by Northern Ireland Water, has seen firewood and tyres pile up in recent weeks
The illegal bonfire site, owned by Northern Ireland Water, has seen firewood and tyres pile up in recent weeks

There are growing calls to clear an illegal bonfire site at a Co Antrim beauty spot that is home to various wildlife.

The site at Stonyford Reservoir site, owned by NI Water, has been turned into a dumping ground with items including tyres, wood, pallets dumped at the junction with Huntshill Road.

Local authorities and the PSNI have condemned the activities, but illegal dumping has continued.

It has led to concerns for environmental safety and the pollution risk it presents to local wildlife and the public.

One resident said: “The organisers of this should be ashamed.

“This has been ongoing since March. Debris is now on the road and someone has dumped glass windscreens. As far as the residents can see there is nothing being done.”



This is not a new problem as an image from April 2023 on Google Maps also shows fly tipping at the site, with a sign requesting fire wood for bonfires.

NI Water said it continued to appeal to the public to cease using land at Stoneyford Reservoir for illegal dumping of waste materials.

“NI Water is aware of historic issues with fires being lit on or near the Stoneyford Reservoir site and although this will not impact on water quality or supply to customers, as the reservoir is not currently in service, it is home to a variety of wildlife who depend on the natural habitat for survival,” it warned.

“NI Water remains committed to seeking a resolution and continues to work with the community, local authorities and elected representatives to resolve the ongoing issues at this site.”

Stoneyford site 2023
A Google map image from April 2023 also shows fly tipping at the site, with a sign requesting fire wood for bonfires

Meanwhile, there has been cross community condemnation from political representatives urging NI Water, the local council and the PSNI to address the issue.

Lisburn and Castlereagh council said it was aware material had been deposited and that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency was the regulating authority responsible for enforcement and any fines in this instance.

“We are engaging directly with NIW as the landowner, Northern Ireland Environment Agency as the regulator and other statutory partners around the continuing accumulation of material at this location,” it added.

The site, owned by Northern Ireland Water, has seen the appearance of ‘UVF’ graffiti in recent weeks as well as junk piling up, which locals say is “spilling out on to the road”
The site, owned by Northern Ireland Water, has seen the appearance of ‘UVF’ graffiti in recent weeks as well as junk piling up, which locals say is “spilling out on to the road”

The Irish News has contacted the Northern Ireland Environment Agency for comment.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Lisburn Neighbourhood Policing Team are aware of issues around fly-tipping and graffiti in the Stoneyford Reservoir area, and continue to engage with NI Water, other partner agencies and local residents to find a solution.”