Murphy left red-faced on green issues twice in one week – Long

Alliance Deputy Leader and Regional Development Spokesperson Naomi Long MLA has hit out at Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy for his ‘woefully inadequate’ answer to Anna Lo’s sustainable drainage question during today’s statement in the Assembly on last week’s flooding. Naomi Long stated that this was the second time in a week that Mr Murphy had been caught out on green issues, after he made no reference to water conservation within his plans for the review on water charges last Monday.

The East Belfast Assembly Member said: “Today was not the first time that Conor Murphy has failed to adequately address conservation and sustainability issues.

“First we had his statement on the water charges review last week, which failed to mention water conservation, and today we have his woefully inadequate response to Anna Lo’s question on sustainable urban drainage.

“There are two ways to deal with flooding. You can attempt to make pipes bigger to deal with peak flows, which people recognise is not economically or environmentally sustainable, and poses significant engineering problems in dry weather, or you can reduce the peak of the flow in the pipe by implementing a sustainable urban drainage system. Such schemes can manage storm water run-off in a more innovative way, to ensure that we get maximum benefit from our existing network.

“The issue of sustainable urban drainage, particularly in the context of new development, had already been raised last week, and despite the fact it was in the public domain already, Conor Murphy was still totally unprepared for a question on it, instead referring to the Belfast Sewer Project, which whilst important, is not an answer to the question of sustainable urban drainage.

“The Minister has a duty to consider long-term strategies instead of simplistic responses to making urban drainage better, in order to reduce the potential for further scenes of devastation like those we saw last week.”


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