E-mail to the Parliamentary Commissioner
from Mr David Gordon
Further to my e-mail of 16/2/2001, further information
has now come to light.
Roy Beggs MP has publicly confirmed that he owns
the land at Ballyrickard Road ("I will be vindicated",
Larne Gazette, 21/2/01).
A copy of this newspaper article can be faxed or
posted, if required.
Mr Beggs further stated that he bought the site in
1984, and subsequently received planning permission for an agricultural
improvement scheme, involving inert waste tipping.
There are still two central unanswered questions
in relation to the MPs' Register of Interests:
1) Why did Mr Beggs not declare the land at Ballyrickard
Road, under section eight of the Register?
This land is not part of his farm. Nor could it all
be described as farmland, given the extensive landfill waste operation
based within it.
The exact size of the MP's land holding has not yet
been determined. However, a further resident of the area, Mr Leslie
Hood, has stated that it is approx 17 acres.
Some months before Mr Beggs acquired the land, planning
permission for a bungalow was granted to the then landowner. (Department
of Environment planning reference no. F/137/83)
This presumably significantly increased the value
of the land. It is not yet known if the approval has since lapsed
or been renewed, but the principle of housing development has
been established at the site.
Mr Beggs' infilling agricultural improvement scheme
is also presumably designed to enhance the land value, by restoring
it to agricultural use. Permission for it was granted in 1989
(ref no F/89/0398).
The MP has stated (Larne Gazette, ibid) that when
the landfill scheme is completed, the area will be "sewn
with grass and used for grazing".
2) Why did Mr Beggs not declare the landfill waste
operation, under section 2 or section 10 of the MPs' Register
The landfill is licensed solely in the name of Mr
Beggs, c/o his constituency office in Larne.
Mr Beggs is adamant that neither he nor his family
have received any financial benefits from the operation, which
is solely managed by the firm DJ McKee and Son.
Customs and Excise has confirmed that, as site licence
holder, Mr Beggs is legally responsible for the landfill tax payments.
(Reported by Larne Times, 22/2/01)
Mr Beggs has also indicated that he intends to meet
the clean-up costs originating from a breach of control at the
He therefore has a financial involvement with
regard to both tax payments and clean-up costs.
So according to Mr Beggs' account, he has been allowing
a firm to tip waste on his land, for profit, over a number of
years at no chargewhile apparently shouldering the burden
of tax payments and other responsibilities himself.
This is a very generous act of benevolence on his
Leaving side any questions about his account, there
is also the question of indirect pecuniary benefit to Mr Beggs.
In planning terms, the landfilling is an agricultural
improvement scheme aimed at improving the land and thereby enhancing
Mr Beggs, as the landowner, is therefore the ultimate
beneficiary from the landfill operation.
Even at this level, should he not have declared the
waste operation to Parliament?
22 February 2001