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Shambolic water service needs investment

The latest downpours on Wednesday brought more chaos to parts of east Belfast. Within 15 minutes storm drains failed again, resulting in loose manhole covers, human waste on the streets and other dangers to public safety and traffic.

It is scandalous that while the Department for Regional Development plans to waste £330m on the A5 road, which is neither needed nor wanted, it cannot prevent regular scenes of squalor in east Belfast.

We have known for many years that Northern Ireland's water and sewage system needs investment. Yet the Executive has utterly failed to develop a plan which can deliver that investment.

As a priority DRD needs to find money to invest in infrastructure now, diverting it from other projects if needs be, before new housing developments put more strain on the existing system, particularly in areas like east Belfast.

The Executive must explore a credible and fair means of charging for water, so that improvements to our water service are sustainable. It also needs to consider models like privatisation and mutualisation, which have been successful in Great Britain, if NIW is to be fit for purpose into the future.

The inaction and excuses of DRD and the wider executive have subjected the people of east Belfast and elsewhere to the misery of flooding for far too long. The Executive needs to start delivering solutions right now.

Roy Hobson

NI Conservatives

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