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Healthy beaches a catalyst for growth in Lecale - Hazzard

21 October, 2015 - by Chris Hazzard

Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard called on the Environment Minister in Stormont this week to prioritise the environmental health of Lecale's beaches in the months ahead as locals continue their campaign for EU Bathing Status. 

Speaking during a debate he secured on Lecale's Beaches; Mr Hazzard said: 

"There are more than a dozen beaches along the Lecale coastline from Strangford to Dundrum with beautiful scenery and delicate ecosystems. 

"However due to the absence of EU Bathing Water status at locations along the coastline NIWater are free to pump sewage into the Irish Sea at various points. 

"Unlike the 'Gold Coast' along the North Down coastline - where EU Bathing Status was accredited without any fuss or campaigning - local communities in South Down are being forced to jump through unwarranted hoops in their campaign to protect and enhance our local coastline.

"Crucially, with EU Bathing Water Status would come a responsibility for NIWater to cease pumping raw sewage into local waters and suitably invest in upgrading the existing sewage infrastructure throughout Lecale.

"This would also have a hugely positive effect for the wider Lecale area as the existing poor sewage infrastructure is often cited as a barrier to economic growth & development in places such as Ballyhornan, Killough & Kilclief. 

Chris Hazzard added: 

"In recent weeks my Sinn Féin Council colleagues also raised this issue and secured the establishment of a Beaches Forum within Newry, Mourne & Down Council. 

"I have now asked the Environment Minister - in partnership with this Forum - to prioritise EU Bathing Water Status as it will be a real catalyst for environmental & economic improvement throughout Lecale." 

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