Ballyhornan Residents Protest Over New Sewage Scheme

DOWN Councilor Cadogan Enright joined Ballyhornan Residents Association leaders in a recent protest outside the new Ballyhornan sewage scheme this week as local residents have labeled the scheme as “far too little far too late”.

[caption id="attachment_51108" align="alignleft" width="390"]Cllr Cadogan Enright has supported residents at Ballyhornan over a protest over the designation of local beaches. Cllr Cadogan Enright has supported residents at Ballyhornan over a protest over the designation of local beaches.[/caption]

Residents representative Barry Mervyn said: “NI Water are telling us that the standards set by the NIEA allows them to implement a solution that still allows sewage discharges on our beach. This scheme is only papering over cracks, and seems to be a pointless exercise if they are only sieving solids while continuing to discharge sewage into the sea. We need to know why the NIEA has set the standards so low for Ballyhornan and right along the Lecale Coast.”

Cllr Enright highlighted explained: “In a reply to a Freedom of Information request from the DOE Water Management Unit it appears that this is just  blatant discrimination against the people in Down District. The NIEA confirmed in its letter that different standards are used for deciding the quality of water on the Lecale Coast, when compared to the quality of water on the North Down Gold Coast.

“The FOI reply said that the differences in treatment requirements for the individual WWtW are based on the p.e. of the works and the receiving water. The majority of the WWtW serving the Lecale Coast serve a significantly smaller population than those in the Gold Coast in North Down.  There are a number of bathing waters identified under the Bathing Water Directive along the Gold Coast.  These include Helen’s Bay, Crawfordsburn, Ballyholme, Groomsport and Millisle.  There are currently no designated bathing waters along the Lecale Coast.

“The Strangford and Lecale area serves not only our own population, but also serves a huge number of tourists during what the NIEA describe as ‘the bathing season’. It makes no sense to base population figures in tourist areas on local residents alone – we need to address the realities on the ground.

“Furthermore, not to designate our beaches as ‘Bathing Waters’ but to designate all the main beaches in North Down as ‘Bathing Waters’ is totally daft from the point-of-view of developing the Tourist Industry. This is affecting all our main beaches, not just Ballyhornan, but from Kilclief and Killard, right across to Killough and Minerstown,” explained Cllr Enright.

The Chairperson of the Ballyhornan Residents Association thanked Cllr Enright for his effort in exposing these “irregularities” and added:  “In my view there are Section 75 equality issues to be addressed here. We will be writing to all our MLA’s asking them to address these disclosures in Stormont.”