The department’s previous permanent secretary has written sharing concerns about the risk of pollution to our coastal waters and detailing that to live within budget would require cessation of wastewater treatment but current powers given to the Civil Service cannot facilitate this severe decision.
Commenting on the matter, Andrew Muir said: “The budget delivered by the Secretary of State is not fit for purpose and is causing real harm to so many across Northern Ireland. The Department for Infrastructure is already faced with a £112m funding gap despite already making difficult decisions in an attempt to reduce this.
“The provision of clean and safe drinking water and treated wastewater is a vital piece of infrastructure for public health requirements and a good functioning economy and society.
“We have seen what happens when wastewater infrastructure is not given proper investment, evidenced by the fact that during the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, NI Water was responsible for 591 polluting discharges into the sea and waterways.
"This summer we have had regular news stories of polluted waters unsafe for swimming and deaths of family dogs after spending time in blue-green algae. Whilst investigations continue into the cause of each sub-standard wastewater infrastructure is a real concern in too many areas. In this context, the idea that ceasing wastewater treatment is on the agenda is beyond comprehension."
“Northern Ireland urgently needs a restored Executive coupled with the financial package which enables us to stabilise and transform key public services including wastewater infrastructure which is essential to protect public health and enable functioning of our society and economy.”
September 07, 2023
Muir concerned about risk of for further pollution due to funding gaps in wastewater treatment
Alliance Party Infrastructure spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA is concerned that funding for wastewater treatment remains uncertain despite many recent incidents of pollution.
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