Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Public urged to fight ‘fast-track’ reservoir sale

NI Water programme, H2O and the Wonderful World of Water, made a splash at Kircubbin Primary School last week

The fate of north Down’s reservoirs will be discussed at a public meeting next Wednesday (December 8).

Councillor Andrew Muir has organised the meeting after discovering that Northern Ireland Water is considering fast tracking the sale of a number of the sites.

Representatives from key organisations such as the Woodland Trust, RSPB and Ulster Wildlife Trust will attend the meeting to provide information.

“As a result of information obtained it is clear that Portavoe, plus Ballysallagh Upper and Lower Reservoirs are under clear and present danger,” said Mr Muir.

“The reservoirs now face the prospect of being flogged to the highest bidder.”

He added: “Ballysallagh reservoirs aren't the only reservoirs under immediate threat.

“Portavoe reservoir, which lies between Groomsport and Donaghadee, is also listed for sale in 2011/12. Two reservoirs in Conlig are also scheduled for sale in 2013/14 with the sale of the Church Road and Creighton’s Green reservoirs outside Holywood, scheduled for 2015/16.”

The meeting, at 7.30pm at Bangor Sportsplex, on the Old Belfast Road, is open to all.

“This is a north Down and Northern Ireland-wide problem which requires a united approach,” said Mr Muir.

A spokesperson for Northern Ireland Water said: “NI Water welcomes the opportunity to meet with local representatives and is keen to share the information given to Mr Muir in regard to our intentions to the disposal of assets, including reservoirs now out of service. NI Water wishes to dispel the impression that there is anything unusual with the disposal of NI Water land and assets, the details of which are continually updated and published in our Annual Land Disposal Register. It is not only a Regulatory requirement, but good business practice to identify surplus land and property assets, particularly those that attract operational running costs.”

She confirmed that the reservoirs in question are no longer required because of significant investment in a new Water Treatment Works for the Silent Valley and associated trunk mains.

“NI Water has a clear policy which outlines the steps which must be taken when disposing of land, in compliance with normal practice for asset disposal in the public sector. Our priority is ensuring value for money is achieved while providing the safe and efficient delivery of the best ever water and wastewater services to the people of Northern Ireland.”

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