A councillor is kicking up a stink in Europe about the stench of sewage in a picturesque seaside town after a solution to the problematic pong was put on the back burner.
Andrew Muir says the bad smell in Holywood caused by a sewage pollution problem at Kinnegar Lagoons is so bad he has been forced to take the problem to the European Parliament.
Two years ago, the Alliance councillor was told that the Co Down town wouldn’t have to endure the smell for another summer.
But he has now learned that work to remedy the pollution problem has been shelved until 2013 due to budget pressures.
The delay in sorting it out demonstrates the need for an independent environmental protection agency, Mr Muir argued.
Last night, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency said Environment Minister Alex Attwood may consider taking action against NI Water.
NI Water said work is due to start on resolving the sewage pollution around April next year.
Mr Muir said: “In August 2010, I was assured that Holywood would not have to endure yet another smelly summer but it’s now clear that NI Water have been slow to stop the sewage smell which has been particularly bad in recent weeks. I have therefore arranged for an MEP to ask Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, if he is aware of the situation and what action the EU is taking. Whilst awaiting a response from Commissioner Potocnik, I recently convened a meeting with senior NI Water officials to find out why NI Water is prolonging the pollution problem.
“During my meeting I was shocked to discover that whilst a solution must be in place by 2015 due to regulatory requirements, budgetary pressures meant that the scheme has been deferred until 2013/14.”
Mr Muir said he is pleased £100,000 has been invested in identifying the cause of the stench and over £3.5m is now earmarked for a solution.
A NI Water spokesperson said a £3.5m project to resolve the sewage pollution at Kinnegar Lagoons was included in its business plan.