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Kennedy announces decision on Bridge Orders for Narrow Water Bridge project 

Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy has announced his decision to proceed with the Bridge Orders for the Narrow Water Bridge project.

The Minister, in an written statement to the Assembly today, said he has now asked his department to proceed with the necessary arrangements to make the Orders. 

A consultation period on the Bridge Orders ended on 4 June with a total of 17 letters of objection received. The majority were from the local mussel fishermen or those representing them. 

Danny Kennedy said: “Following the submission of objections, Louth County Council has had a series of meetings with some of the objectors aimed at finding an agreed resolution to the objections. My officials have been fully engaged with the Council throughout this process. The original objections were clearly outlined and well articulated. In light of this and information from the additional dialogue between Louth Council and objectors, I have concluded that a public inquiry is not necessary.

“After giving this matter very careful consideration and taking all relevant issues into account, I have decided to proceed with the Bridge Orders. 

"Since making my written statement to the Assembly I have learned this afternoon that Louth County Council has announced that a funding shortfall has meant that the project has been put on hold. This is a matter for Louth Council.”

Notes to editors: 

1. A copy of the Minister’s statement can be found at the following link:  http://www.drdni.gov.uk/narrow-water-bridge-statement

2. The project to construct a bridge at Narrow Water in Warrenpoint is being taken forward by Louth County Council in partnership with Newry and Mourne District Council. The Department’s role is to facilitate the project by processing the necessary Bridge Orders and it has no direct involvement in delivering this scheme.

3. The draft Narrow Water Bridge Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and the draft Newry River Diversion of Navigable Watercourse and Extinguishment of Public Rights of Navigation) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013, are required to deal with the impact of the Narrow Water Bridge proposal on the Newry River which is a public navigable waterway, as far as it relates to Northern Ireland. 

4. Notice of the draft Orders were published in the local Press during weeks commencing 22 and 29 April and the consultation period ended on 4 June with a total of 17 letters of objection being received. 

5. The main reasons for objections from the mussel fishermen is the loss of some fishing grounds from the construction of the proposed bridge in navigable waters, proposed vessel protection systems and proposed extinguishment and diversion of navigation rights; and, the restriction of fishing activities resulted from the proposed bridge operating procedures.

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