NGO takes on Northern Irish Water Service over sewers

Friends of the Earth has launched a court case against Irish water authorities over its decision to allow new housing developments to be attached to inadequate sewer systems.

Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland v Northern Irish Water Service

Friends of the Earth has commenced court action challenging governmental policy which permits new housing developments to connect to the public sewer where sewage treatment is inadequate or non-existent. Applications for connections to the sewage system within Northern Ireland are made to Water Service who have a broad discretion whether or not to grant new connections. However, following a request made by Friends of the Earth to Water Service in May last year, seeking assurance that Water Service would not allow further connections to be made where to do so would increase the non-compliance with European law and would increase environmental harm, Water Service refused to give any such assurance. Friends of the Earth have therefore now raised a judicial review action against Water Service regarding their policy to allow development within 57 sewage 'hotspots' across Northern Ireland. At the same time, Friends of the Earth have suggested that developers should be allowed to install small sewage works as part of new housing developments.

Following a complaint made by Friends of the Earth to the European Commission regarding Northern Ireland's non-compliance with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Directive 91/271/EC), the case has been referred to the European Court of Justice. In the meantime, the hearing of the judicial review case ended this week and a judgement is therefore awaited.

See link to Friends of the Earth Press Release here.

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