East Belfast Alliance representatives call for NI Executive action on flooding

Alliance East Belfast representatives have called for the Executive to take action now, ensuring the level of flooding that took place in June doesn’t happen again.

In an Assembly Debate Judith Cochrane MLA and Chris Lyttle MLA today highlighted the continued problems facing their constituents following severe flooding last June.

Judith Cochrane MLA said: “This is a vital issue that must be addressed. The flooding last June affected too many people in East Belfast and unfortunately I fear that we will experience similar situations in the future if something is not done now.

“When talking to constituents, one issue which is continually repeated is that of the confusion between the different statutory bodies dealing with flooding. Better communication between the agencies is essential in times of emergency.

“We simply cannot continue to talk about how we could better react to, or contain disasters each time crisis occurs – whether it was the big freeze and thaw of December 2010, or these floods – we must act to reduce the risk of repeat, and improve the information and crisis-response services that were lacking in June.”

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The Executive announced the advance of £10 million to DARD Rivers Agency for flood alleviation schemes last July; however, we need to hear urgently from the DARD Minister how much of this money will be allocated to the East Belfast/Connswater Community Greenway Integrated Flood Alleviation Scheme, in order to get on with much needed works in the constituency.

“Alliance welcomed the £1,000 emergency payments made available to affected home owners and I called for this to be extended to business owners also; however, nearly all people I talk to would much prefer this money, which the Regional Development Minister has announced totalled £1.25 million, and appropriate revenue raising was properly invested in adequate drainage to prevent flood damage in the first place.”

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