Armstrong says Department needs to change funding method following housing development ban

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said the Department for Infrastructure needs to change its method of funding NI Water, after new housing developments were banned in a Co Down village following its sewage system reaching capacity.

NI Water said no more homes will be built in Saintfield, as the strain on its sewage system saw raw sewage flowing from manhole covers after heavy rain. The village has experienced a building boom after its population increased dramatically in recent years.

“The sewage system in Saintfield has been struggling for some time, with heavy rain water flowing onto Old Grand Jury Road for a number of years. Alliance representatives have been working with residents to help resolve the issues there,” said Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong.

“It could be two years or longer before the system can truly be fixed but of course that is dependent on funding being available and used for this. For far too long, the Executive underfunded our infrastructure, with the current funding model not delivering enough investment to ensure our sewage system meets the demands on it.

“Alliance has previously proposed a new funding model which would enable NI Water to gain a more reliable funding stream and allow them to seek alternative investment to help support the much-needed reform of our water and sewage system.

“The DUP and Sinn Féin need to set aside their differences and ensure a restoration of the Executive, so we can get Ministers in place to make sure people in Saintfield are not left behind with substandard services.”

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