Overview of NI Water’s Planned Infrastructure Investment in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council during Price Control 21

Posted By: NI Water

29th Mar 2022

NI Water updated Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council representatives in a virtual meeting, on 28 March, about infrastructure plans going forward and the level of investment planned for the Council area.

In its future growth plans, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has anticipated that by 2030, it will need 9,750 new homes. The towns of Antrim and Ballyclare will be the main Hubs for growth, with predictions that 9,000 new jobs will be created.

NI Water is looking at how to accommodate these plans, and in the short term we will help where we can, to find solutions and to look at all available options to work with Councils and developers to progress the Council’s ambitions for the people in their area.

NI Water’s Head of Investment Management, Stephen Blockwell, says:

“NI Water’s goal is to ensure we have a modern, efficient service today and in the future. While Investment is needed urgently, NI Water has a plan in place and we are ready and capable to deliver.” 

NI Water is here to help progress and facilitate future economic development. The Sustainable Water 5th Annual Report[i] points to the necessity of funding NI Water appropriately, to allow the Executive to meet its medium and long term objectives for economic growth.

Dr Blockwell continues “NI Water is ready to provide engineering solutions to short term constraints where possible. However, the full funding identified by the Utility Regulator in its Final Determination (PC21) is required, to fulfil the vision of economic expansion for the people in our towns and cities. 

“This is not a ‘wish list’ or a ‘nice to have.’ This is the blueprint that will help us ensure NI Water can deliver in a strong, modern regional economy.

“Our infrastructure plans over the 2021 – 2027 period (known as PC21) for the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area requires ca £22.5 million pounds of investment to upgrade wastewater and water assets. This is over and above essential base maintenance investment associated with our assets during PC21. This investment will begin to address the sewer and wastewater capacity issues. However, we recognise that further investment will be required within the Council area during future Price Control periods to allow new housing and business development to proceed in some areas.”

Dr Blockwell concluded:

NI Water has highlighted the impact underfunding has had on our Economy and the Environment for many years and that this will take approximately 2 to 3 price controls to rectify. The message is clear. NI Water has an ambitious plan and significant and sustained investment is needed for wastewater and water infrastructure across Northern Ireland. NI Water understands Council growth ambitions, we know what needs done in each Council area and we have the plan and the skills to deliver it. We just need funding certainty for this and future Price Control Periods.” 

A number of slides with information on current sewer and wastewater issues and proposed investment in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council were presented at the meeting.

Further information can be found on our website https://www.niwater.com/capacity-information/

[i] Fifth Annual Report on Sustainable Water – A Long-term Water Strategy for Northern Ireland 2020/21 (infrastructure-ni.gov.uk)