Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Bangor - Councillor Peter J. Martin

DUP Councillors call for a halt on the draining of Portavoe Reservoir

Tuesday 1st April 2014

For a number of weeks now Northern Ireland Water (an executive agency of DRD) has been draining Portavoe Reservoir which straddles both North Down and Ards Borough Councils. The Reservoir is owned by NIW and maintained (as a trout lake) by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. We are very concerned by the draining of this lake at this time of year given the impact on fish, wildlife and fauna in the area.

For a number of weeks now Northern Ireland Water (an executive agency of DRD) has been draining Portavoe Reservoir which straddles both North Down and Ards Borough Councils. The Reservoir is owned by NIW and maintained (as a trout lake) by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. We are very concerned by the draining of this lake at this time of year given the impact on fish, wildlife and fauna in the area. We have contacted NIW, NIEA and DCAL regarding this matter and discovered that this action has been classed as ‘emergency response’ because the ‘scour valve’ at the base of the dam has apparently significantly deteriorated. This action has been taken under NIW’s ‘targeted emptying plan’ and, as such, does does not need to wait for the new Reservoirs Bill in Northern Ireland. This work was due to start in January but because of ‘high water levels’ it was put back several weeks.

Cllr Martin 

“Clearly the environmental impact of this drainage is very concerning judging by the sheer number of constituents who have contacted me. I have witnessed firsthand some of the environmental impact including swathes of fresh water mussels lying dead on exposed shore and dead fish floating in the water. In my discussions with Government Departments and Executive Agencies it has become clear that the reservoir has not been cleared of fish stock (as was circulating on social media) but just not restocked since August 2013. This in itself is very concerning and has just come to light. I have today contacted the DRD Minister Danny Kennedy and asked for this maintenance to be halted until the NI Fisheries Officer and NIEA have examined the current level of environmental damage at Portavoe” 

Cllr Smith 

“This matter is of concern to a number of people and the lack of information has not helped the situation. This issue of course goes beyond just NI Water and we need a more coordinated and joint up approach. It is important that NI Water, DCAL and the NIEA work together in order to protect the marine life and wild life in this area. It would also help if both Ards and North Down Councils were kept informed so in turn we could pass that information onto members of the public who have expressed alarm at what is happening at the moment at the reservoir.”

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