Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Bangor - Councillor Peter J. Martin

Martin welcomes improvement in local beaches

Tuesday 15th May 2012

Recently the Marine Conservation Society published its yearly report on our beaches in the United Kingdom. Thankfully our beaches in Ballyholme and Groomsport passed the mandatory test which is an improvement on recent years when our beaches have struggled to meet the minimum criteria. This is of course good news but is it enough?

Recently the Marine Conservation Society published its yearly report on our beaches in the United Kingdom. Thankfully our beaches in Ballyholme and Groomsport passed the mandatory test which is an improvement on recent years when our beaches have struggled to meet the minimum criteria. This is of course good news but is it enough? What many people may not be aware of is that in 2015 a new ‘Bathing Water Directive’ will come into force and this will reclassify the standards required of our beaches. If the rigorous standards of 2015 were applied now it would be fair to speculate that Ballyholme would be deemed wholly unfit to swim in! 

In the last year I have lobbied both the Environment Minister and the Regional Development Minister regarding this matter as we cannot just think short term on this issue otherwise we may be in for a serious upset in 2015. Last week I received a reply from the Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water (NIW) who advised me of the following progress; 

 ‘NIW has invested £4.5 million into sewage improvements in the Ballyholme area. There is now a Drainage Area Plan (DAP) in place for Bangor to make improvements to the water quality and over the next 3 years there will be a further investment of £10 million into implementing the Bangor DAP.’ 

All these improvements are to be welcomed but so far it is ‘a splash in the ocean’ in an attempt to drag the consistently worst performing area, in terms of water quality, in the whole of Northern Ireland up to an acceptable standard by 2015. Our local environment is very important to many of the residents of North Down and unless we lobby hard for it in the short term we will be worse off in the long term. I intend to do my outmost to press for further improvements along our coastline in the future

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