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Illegally disposing of your Christmas tree could land you with a £2,500 fine

People who illegally dispose of their Christmas trees are being warned that they could face a hefty fine of up to £2,500.

Deciding what to do with your tree is often one of the biggest clean-up decisions, with some tempted to dispose of the tree amongst bushes and other trees.

But leaving your Christmas tree in any common land, including on top of your garden wall, is classed as fly-tipping.

According to NI Direct, fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of rubbish or bulky items on land where dumping isn’t allowed.

And local councils won’t hesitate to give those caught fly-tipping a fixed penalty notice of £80. The maximum fine for the offence is £2,500, if convicted in a Magistrates Court.

Fortunately, there are a number of responsible ways to dispose of your tree without incurring a huge fine.

All local recycling centres should take your tree, but check first as you may need to book an appointment.

There are also a number of drop-off points in most of the boroughs within the all of the Council districts across the country.

Meanwhile, Belfast Zoo says it is no longer recycling Christmas trees for their animals due to the new enforced Covid-19 regulations.

Northern Ireland’s only zoo usually appeals for people’s festive trees every year but have decided against it this year because the “protection of staff and animals was paramount during these uncertain times”.

However, if you’re still looking to donate your tree rather than take it to your local tip, it could still be of use.

Kinedale Donkeys, based in Ballynahinch, said while they will be accepting through drop-off only they had quite a few animals who would like it for a treat.

A post on their Facebook page reads: “Yes, we are again accepting Christmas trees once you’re finished with them!

“Although, this year we are not collecting them instead you are welcome to leave them over the wall at the farm and we ask that you leave a small payment of £5 to go towards the donkeys.”

The Northern Ireland Hospice is also collecting trees to raise money to care for local people living with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses.

The eco-friendly collection service is available for residents living in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area.

The collection will take place on January 9th and the Hospice is kindly asking for a suggested donation of £10 per household tree.

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