Kelly: Departments must unite to stop further chemical spills

Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly has backed calls by party colleague Trevor Lunn for a joint-up approach from departments when it comes to preventing and dealing with fish kills.

The South Antrim representative was speaking after stocks in the Sixmile Water River were seriously damaged in a recent pollution incident – the latest in a long line of disasters that has left the river’s make-up seriously compromised. This week Trevor Lunn MLA questioned the DCAL Minister directly on her role in providing a strategic approach to stop further fish kills in the area.

Councillor Neil Kelly said: “Sixmile Water River is one of South Antrim’s greatest local resources and one we can all enjoy. I have fished the river regularly and my dogs love nothing more than to ramble by the river during our long walks, yet time and time again its fish stocks have been seriously depleted and plant life extinguished by pollution that could have been avoided.

“In recent years the river wildlife had been flourishing, but all it takes is one significant spill for this to be wiped out. Yet, with the river seriously compromised no single government department seems to be responsible for finding a solution to the damage caused by the run-off from slurry tanks into rivers. Four departments are involved – Culture, Arts and Leisure, Enterprise Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development and the Environment Department – yet the number of incidents are on the increase, with no solution on the horizon.

“My colleague Trevor Lunn is right – all departments involved must unite in order to produce a more cohesive approach to the problem and provide a better outcome. With Trevor continuing to put pressure on the relevant departments at Stormont, I’ll continue to work locally to ensure all relevant measures are taken to limit further damage.”

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