Alliance MLA Andrew Muir MLA has said he is frustrated the Infrastructure Department has again refused to reveal details of reservoirs in urgent need of intervention works.
In a response to a question asked by Mr Muir, the department said it was concerned over revealing ‘vulnerabilities’ in the reservoirs – despite the failure to properly implement legislation that would address all those in a poor state of repair.
Mr Muir added: “The Department either needs to get on with the process of repairing these reservoirs, or it needs to reveal more details. To do nothing is to risk large scale flooding and even loss of life.
“I understand with 179 reservoirs there is a lot to manage – especially as it has previously been made clear that not all owners have responded positively to previous requests for remediation work.
“But with a number described as being in a serious state of repair, the risk to further damage or worse, this failure to properly implement legislation passed in 2015 to address the state of our Reservoirs is an absolute scandal. It’s entirely unacceptable it could take until at least January 2022 before Grant Funding becomes available to assist owners to affect much needed repairs
“This situation is literally an accident waiting to happen, and the idea it cannot be properly addressed for over a year due to error in transferring powers from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to DfI ridiculous as we approach a year since the Assembly was restored giving plenty of time to make the changes needed.
“Whilst I recognise the numbers in each Council area have been provided, In the absence of names of the specific Reservoirs needing urgent action it’s incumbent upon the Infrastructure Minister to detail what action is being taken to safeguard the public from flooding resulting in failure of these Reservoirs and how matters are being expedited to get necessary legal powers in place without any more delay.”