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Fire Service: Bin Burning

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 12 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On how many occasions the Lisburn Road fire station in Belfast has been called to deal with bin burning and related arson incidents in alleys in the past 12 months; and whether the local police have consequently been involved in investigations relating to such arson and in developing an approach to curb the number of these fires and to deal with those responsible.[HL6746]

During the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) dealt with 866 arson-related incidents in the Cadogan fire station area on Belfast's Lisburn Road, of which 388 involved deliberate ignition of rubbish, skips and bins. The NIFRS has an ongoing arson reduction programme as part of an educational package for primary and secondary schools.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has advised that figures are not available on the numbers of recorded incidents of arson, as these are recorded against the owner’s address rather than as an “alleyway incident”. “Alleygating”, whereby locked gates are placed at both ends of an alley, thus making it a private space to which residents have a key, is being rolled out across Belfast. This citywide initiative is being co-ordinated by Belfast City Council Community Safety Unit. Initial pilots have seen a remarkable reduction in levels of anti-social behaviour in those areas. The community safety wardens scheme in the Holylands area has improved the local environment and should reduce bin burning in the area.