Environmental challenge “being lost in sectarian haze”

Young Alliance East Antrim representative Pete Milner has responded to the findings in a report on reservoirs in Northern Ireland by saying that climate change cannot be addressed within a sectarian political system.

Pete Milner stated: “The areas outlined in the Sweeney report on water standards in Northern Ireland are of huge concern. It is evident that we are experiencing climate change, with noticeably wetter weather such as flash floods in winter and more prolonged periods without rain in the summer. It would be foolish to be complacent and ignore warnings of

more serious weather trends.

“We are now seeing that water has its price, and it is of grave concern to every rate payer that vast amounts of it are spilling out of local reservoirs into overflow channels, running wastefully uncollected because of the lack of capacity to store it. This proves Dr Sweeney’s point that new thinking is needed now over how to store high volumes of contemporary

winter rainfall because supplies in summer could be at risk.

“This is an issue which must be immediately taken up by government because agreement needs to be reached over any strategic planning and construction of new reservoirs. Under the sectarian political system this could take many years to achieve and, by that time, people could be caught without a sufficient water supply yet charged heavily for it.

“We in Young Alliance are calling for any new Executive to make a review of existing reservoir provision a priority, with a view to ensuring water supplies are secure for everyone well into the future.

“If no action is taken and scientific warnings are left ignored amidst the sectarian haze, it will prove the inadequacy both of the water supply and of our current political leaders.”


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