Derry waste water blockages holding up development must be addressed: Delargy

Waste water capacity issues in Derry must be urgently addressed otherwise several major developments in the city will continue to be held up, a local MLA has declared.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:48 pm

Sinn Féin's Pádraig Delargy raised concerns about sewerage capacity in Derry during a private members' debate in Stormont on the Waste Water and Sewerage Capacity Crisis across the north.

"The lack of investment in waste water infrastructure is preventing thousands of new homes and other developments being built in the Buncrana Road and Skeoge areas, as several capacity issues have been identified across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

"It is vital that those works are delivered as a matter of priority to allow people access to much-needed homes and to allow our city to grow and prosper. However, due to the scale of the issue, there are real concerns that some communities will get left behind while other areas will be prioritised for investment.

Pádraig Delargy.

"It is absolutely vital that areas such as my constituency of Foyle get the investment they need to allow communities to prosper and to ensure that regional inequalities are not exacerbated by the waste water crisis," he said.

Mr. Delargy noted that the Department of Infrastructure has committed £215 million in capital for NI Water. He said that this was more than 'the funding of £178 million that the Utility Regulator identified as necessary this year'.

The Foyle MLA said the decision by DfI to commission a Living with Water feasibility study in Derry last year had been a positive step.

"I welcome that the Living with Water feasibility study has commenced in Derry and includes looking at the A2 Buncrana Road scheme to bring forward integrated drainage solutions for the Skeoge river and Pennyburn catchments. That is a positive development, but I urge that the strategy be rolled out to Derry and across other areas of the North," he said.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: "As Mr. Delargy, rightly, pointed out, I am keen that we see the rolling out of the Living with Water programme so that it is extended beyond Belfast.

"On June 2 this year, I gave the go-ahead for the development of a strategic drainage infrastructure plan for Derry, similar to the 'Living with Water in Belfast' plan that I just referred to, and my intention is to roll out that approach, which is very much focused on our natural environment, to many more areas across Northern Ireland."