I ask the Minister for Regional Development whether NI Water has a programme for disposing of reservoirs that are surplus to requirement in North Down and whether the local council would be given the first option of purchase. (AQO 521/11)
Conor Murphy (Sinn Féin)
I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water that it currently owns seven impounding reservoirs in North Down, all of which are out of service and in the process of being declared no longer required for future use. Disposal of those reservoirs will be carried out in accordance with NIWater’s asset disposal policy. That entails offering assets for sale on the open market and ensuring that best value for money is obtained. If a local council were to express an interest in purchasing any specific asset, NI Water would note that interest and inform the council when it is placed on the open market. The local council would have the same opportunity to purchase the asset as any other organisation or individual.
Brian Wilson (Green)
I thank the Minister for his response. There is considerable concern in the local area that the reservoirs, particularly those at Ballysallagh and Portavoe, will be sold off for private development. Those reservoirs were paid for by the ratepayers of North Down. They were taken over under theLocal Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972. Does Northern Ireland Water not have a moral responsibility to offer those reservoirs back to the ratepayers who paid for them?