Carlingford Lough to benefit from €35m fund
The long awaited upgrade of sewerage networks on both sides of Carlingford Lough has moved a step closer with the announcement last week of major EU funding.
The Shared Waters Enhancement & Loughs Legacy (SWELL) project, which has been awarded €35m under the EU's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, will see the construction of new wastewater treatment works as well as upgrades to sewerage networks on both sides of the border to address wastewater pollution in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.
The four-year project - which is being led by Northern Ireland Water working in partnership with Irish Water, the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute, Loughs Agency and East Border Region - includes research which will be used to achieve further improvements in water quality in these shared waters.
The project will see works being carried out in Omeath as well as Warrenpoint and Newpoint on the Co Down side of the Lough.
Alongside the upgrades to the infrastructure, the project includes funding for catchment studies and ecosystem modelling, within the Carlingford Lough drainage basin (within Newry, Mourne & Down and Louth council areas)
Paul Harper, Director of Asset Delivery at NI Water, said: 'The improvements to the wastewater assets will help contribute to raising the current EU Water Framework Directive status of 'moderate' to 'good'.'
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.
Officially launching the SWELL project, Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, stated: 'The project will leave a lasting legacy through improved wastewater treatment for our border communities and will develop a new environmental model to help decision and policy makers make the difference in improving water quality.'
The unique ecosystem model being developed through SWELL, will link various aspects of environmental modelling such as urban drainage, river, coastal and ecology, undertaken in the catchments of the respective loughs over the lifecycle of the project.
Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and Spokesperson on North-South Bodies & Cross Border Cooperation, Declan Breathnach said the €35m investment in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle illustrates the need to tackle environmental issues on a cross-border basis.
'This investment, which will help improve the water quality status of Carlingford Lough, will also see the upgrading of sewerage networks in the county and alleviate pollution problems in Carlingford Lough.
'Once works have taken place, which it is envisioned will happen by the end of 2021, the water quality standard will be raised from moderate to good.
'This is will have far reaching benefits and will set out a framework for future projects of this nature.
He noted that 'Louth County Council and Newry, Mourne & Down District Council have collaborated over many years to tackle the polluters, who have long plagued both sides of the border.
'It is good to see these efforts rewarded by EU investment and further demonstrates the need to tackle environmental issues on cross-border basis.'