Press Release

Committee to Seek Views of Private Reservoir Owners

Session: 2013/2014

Date: Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Reference: AGR 07/13/14

The Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has announced that it will hold a special event for private reservoir owners. 

The event will bring private reservoir owners together with Committee Members to discuss the proposed Reservoirs Bill. The Committee has done substantial work on the Reservoirs Bill to date but want to ensure that all voices have been heard and opinions considered. 

Committee Chairperson Paul Frew MLA said: “It has been clear for some time that we need to do more locally to manage the risk of flooding and the dangers this poses to public safety. However, we can only achieve this by ensuring that well-defined and effective legislation is put in place.  

“The Committee is committed to producing robust legislation that is informed by local stakeholders. To achieve this, The Committee will be hearing from reservoir owners from both the public and community sectors.  However, owners of private reservoirs have not yet given their views on the new legislation and how it could affect them.  

Mr Frew concluded: “Many privately owned reservoirs are hundreds of years old and are often considered to be lakes rather than manmade structures. The Committee is concerned therefore that many private owners may not realise that the new Bill applies to them. We hope that the upcoming event on Tuesday 18 March which will be open to all private owners will go some way to addressing any misconceptions that may exist.”  

Committee Deputy Chairperson Joe Byrne MLA added: “It is important to remember that the Bill will only apply to those who own, operate or manage reservoirs with a capacity of 10,000 cubic metres of volume or more, this includes 39% of all NI reservoirs that are owned and operated by private individuals. It is essential that reservoir owners are aware of the impact this legislation will have on them. Regular inspections, repairs and maintenance will be mandatory and the Committee wants to ensure that all reservoir owners will be given a voice and the opportunity to comment on and shape this important bill.”  

“I urge private reservoir owners to come to this event and support the Committee in making sure the Reservoirs Bill is fit for purpose.”

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

While legislation to control and regulate reservoirs has existed in Great Britain for some time; in Northern Ireland only common law stating that a reservoir owner or manager is responsible for reservoir safety applies. The Reservoirs Bill will enshrine new operating requirements and legislative responsibilities for reservoir owners here. 

Further information on the Reservoirs Bill and on how individuals and organisations can submit evidence to the Committee can be found here. 

Anyone interested in attending the event on Tuesday 18 March 2014 should email the Committee on committee.agriculture@niassembly.gov.uk

Committee Membership:

Mr Paul Frew MLA – Chairperson
Mr Joe Byrne MLA – Deputy Chairperson
Mr Thomas Buchanan MLA
Mrs Judith Cochrane MLA
Mrs Jo-Anne Dobson MLA
Mr William Irwin MLA
Mr Declan McAleer MLA
Miss Michelle McIlveen MLA
Mr Oliver McMullan MLA
Mr Ian Milne MLA
Mr Robin Swann MLA

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