Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen has officially launched a new £350k Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to encourage and stimulate the development of innovative remediation technologies for the Mobuoy Road waste site and other illegal waste sites.

Funding for this SBRI competition has come from the Executive’s Pilot SBRI Challenge Fund which is jointly managed by the Department for the Economy (DfE) and the Department of Finance.

DAERA has allocated £350,000 to fund six projects in Phase 1 of this two phase competition. DAERA projects funded through this competition will inform, in part, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s (NIEA) remediation strategy for the Mobuoy Road illegal waste site in Co Londonderry.

DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “The Mobuoy Road waste site presents a major environmental challenge which we need to address as a priority. The scale and complexity of the site will require an innovative approach.

“This research initiative competition provides an opportunity for companies to develop innovative environmental technologies and solutions and I look forward to learning of successes as the competition progresses.

“The development of innovative remediation treatments for Mobuoy and other illegal waste sites will contribute to finding a solution for reducing the negative environmental impact of such sites.”

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “We recognise the importance of using the buying power of the public sector as a key driver of innovation within the economy. SBRI provides us with a proven method to achieve this. In particular, we have seen with the recent announcements on the joint DAERA, DfE poultry litter project how SBRI can act as a catalyst to help encourage innovative solutions to address difficult issues. I am sure this SBRI competition will also see new innovative solutions developed to support the Waste Management sector.”

Minister of Finance, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “£1.1million has been set aside in the 2016/17 Budget for the establishment of a pilot Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Challenge Fund, which will help support local companies in their efforts to become more innovative. I welcome the proposals put forward under the Challenge Fund – this investment in new innovative ways of working will play an important part in assisting transformation and change in the public sector.”