NI Water outlines future investment plans for Mid Ulster District Council area.
06 March 2023 9:56
NI Water recently attended a special meeting of Mid Ulster District Council, to present information to representatives on future infrastructure investments, address concerns around wastewater capacity issues as well as outlining the key challenges facing the company.
Head of Investment Management Dr Steve Blockwell commented: “NI Water is facing many challenges, not least of which is continued funding during our PC21 period (2021/22 -2026/27), to allow us to continue to operate our critical services as well as deliver on our ambitious capital investment programme,”
Due to sustained underinvestment in our water and wastewater services, development constraints exist in many of our cities and towns both within our wastewater treatment works and sewer networks. While continued long term investment is the key to unlocking many of these constraints, NI Water continues to work closely with developers to find bespoke engineering solutions where possible in the short to medium term.
Dr Steve Blockwell commented: “NI Water is aware of the Council growth ambitions. We have significant investment plans for the area and will continue to work closely with the Council over the coming years to facilitate these plans where possible. However, significant, and sustained investment is needed for wastewater and water infrastructure across Northern Ireland. Without sustained, adequate investment our society will have to choose between environmental protection and economic development.
“The key message is that developers need to speak to NI Water before they submit a planning application. This will allow any capacity constraint issues to be identified as early as possible.”
Early engagement with NI Water by developers is key to exploring all options to expedite the planning process. Without prior consultation the options available to the developer and to NI Water may be more limited.
During the Price Control 21 period (2021/22 – 2026/27) the Mid Ulster District Council area will benefit from ca. £96m in capital investment in upgrading Water and Wastewater assets.
Dr Gary Curran commented: “The message is clear. NI Water is ready to provide engineering solutions to short term constraints where possible. We plan to invest £2.2 billion in total during the PC21 period (2021/22 to 2026/27), with over £1bn being invested in wastewater assets. However, the full scale of the wastewater capacity issues across Northern Ireland will realistically take at least 12 - 18 years, or two to three Price Control periods, to address. It is therefore critical that the PC21 business plan is fully funded, and all future investments will depend on the provision of funding to NI Water by the NI Executive.”
Officials also outlined the responsibilities for the provision of private wastewater infrastructure to serve new developments in areas of capacity constraint. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency is the decision maker for the approval of any private wastewater treatment works infrastructure, and it is essential that Council Planners work closely with NI Water and NIEA to ensure that appropriate approvals are in place for wastewater provision prior to the granting of planning permission for new development.
A number of slides showing the proposed investment in the Mid Ulster District Council area, the key challenges for the company, and the early engagement process for developers were presented at the meeting.
Further information can be found on our website www.niwater.com/wastewater-capacity/
Notes to Editors:
- PC21 Business Plan Fast Read is available to view: click here
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