Sinn Féin MLA for South Antrim, Declan Kearney, and Junior Minister in the Executive Office, has expressed his shock at the sight of a 500m stretch in the Crumlin River almost running dry.
After visiting the site and observing the vast majority of the water from the Crumlin River being diverted towards a local fish farm, Declan Kearney stated that serious questions need to be asked of the relevant agencies with responsibility for our waterways about the policies which relate to this process.
Speaking after visiting the river bed and surrounding river bank earlier this week, Declan Kearney said:
“The drastic reduction in flow to a half kilometre stretch of the Crumlin River between the Mill Road and Ballydonaghy Road is extremely concerning.
“I visited the site with members from the local angling club who have reported this happening in recent years due to the abstraction of water from the river for a nearby fish farm.
“Notwithstanding our recent dry weather period, the comparison in flow between the rest of the river and this particular stretch is shocking. I was able to leave the river bank and walk entire sections of the river bed due to the complete dearth of water flow.
“If this was happening along the open stretch of the river in the Glen there would be a public outcry. However, this stretch of the Crumlin River is quite concealed and not regularly visited by local people.
“Very serious questions need asked about the abstraction policy which has effectively caused this stretch of the Crumlin River to run dry.
“I will be contacting both the Environment Agency and Inland Fisheries to ascertain how such a high level of abstraction from this point on the Crumlin River can be justified.
“The current Departmental policy and associated water abstraction is undoubtedly having devastating implications for the eco system of the Crumlin River in terms of preserving aquatic life, including the fish in the river, the water bound insects which they feed on, as well as the local bird life which depends upon a sustainable, habitat around the river bank.
“As we continue to live with a global climate emergency, it is totally inexcusable that such avoidable destruction to our local rivers should be happening.”