Hazzard calls time on coastal neglect

November 7, 2018

He was responding to a recent Marine Litter Survey which doesn't make for good reading to those who care about the local environment, as well as those seeking growth in tourism numbers to the region. 

Hazzard is calling for a task force to be established to reverse the findings of successive reports which highlight decades of neglect.  All relevant statutory agencies & community organisations need to work together to address this issue
The recently published Marine Litter Survey points to the high volume of litter along South Down coasts, from Lecale to Rostrevor, in stark contrast to findings for the Causeway Coast and North Down.
Earlier this year I highlighted the lack of bathing status at beaches such as Ballyhornan, Killough and Coney Island; again in contrast to nearby North Down. The Department of Environment can no longer sit on its hands.
While we can point to areas where great progress is being made to harness the tourism potential of South Down, recurring problems, along the coast, need to be addressed. The problems are such that we need a multi-faceted approach encompassing marketing, access, provision of bins, conservation and maintenance.
I have written to the Minister for the Environment, Mark H Durkan, to ask what steps he intends to take in light of the findings of the most recent report. This is nothing new so I expect details of actions his department has taken in the last 5 years to improve the environmental health of beaches in South Down.
I have also asked him to outline what actions his department have taken in the last 5 years to improve the bathing quality of beaches in South Down.
I will be calling for an Assembly Adjournment debate to highlight the issue. I welcome the support of Sinn Féin colleagues on the local Council, who are pressing for urgent action address the problems
Sinn Féin will be submitting to Council in the coming days
That this Council notes with concern the recent Marine Litter Survey which identifies major failings in the cleanliness of local beaches; and calls upon the Council to establish an urgent Taskforce in partnership with relevant statutory agencies & community organisations to address this issue.