North Down and Ards District Council was offered eight redundant Reservoirs by Northern Ireland Water in August 2014, but has now rejected an Alliance proposal to explore full costs associated with purchasing the environmental havens, with the Council only opting to acquire Portavo Reservoir in principal – with an economic appraisal due to be compiled to access ongoing costs if purchased.
Commenting on the issue, Alliance Councillor Stuart Anderson said: “Whilst I welcome the decision to actively explore purchase of Portavo Reservoir, I am disappointed that the new Council has decided to spurn this opportunity and instead selected to reject all bar one, without even understanding total costs associated with purchase.
“It is an extremely disappointing response and comes only a few days after Newry, Mourne and Down District Council agreed to invest £1.25million in Carnlough Reservoir.”
Councillor Andrew Muir added: “After leading a long campaign to save these redundant Reservoirs I am gobsmacked the Council has decided to take such a stance, with all the other reservoirs likely to be offered for sale to the highest bidder by NI Water.
“Despite calls from DUP MLA Alex Easton that the Council purchase the reservoirs on offer the DUP stubbornly voted against our proposal to save these environmental havens. Reservoirs now potentially up for sale are Lough Cowey, Portaferry, Creightons Green Lower, Holywood, Ballysallagh Upper & Lower (Craigantlet), Conlig Upper & Lower (Bangor) and Church Road, Holywood.
“The vast array of wildlife which lives in these Reservoirs is now at risk with current recreational rights, such as Angling, now facing an uncertain future especially in Conlig where it is feared they could be zoned for housing.”