Open letter to Chris Heaton-Harris

Dear Chris Heaton-Harris 

We’re disgusted that you would consider dumping even more untreated sewage into our water.  

It’s as if you want to return us to Victorian levels of sanitation. You'll forgive us for not taking this possibly illegal proposal seriously. An idea that violates the Habitats Directive, the Bathing Water Directive, the Water Framework Directive...the list goes on. Not to mention transgressing international law. 

Northern Ireland’s waters are shared with the Republic of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England and the Isle of Man. So cuts to sewage treatment will harm communities across borders too. To disregard the law so recklessly looks like misconduct in public office.  

Is it possible that you want to run sewerage services into the ground to force a privatisation of our water? We know from England just how disastrous privatised water companies have been and yet your government’s priority seems to be possible shareholder profiteering over protecting water as a common good.

Whatever the logic, this reckless approach to the DFI 2023/24 budget is deeply flawed and will create significant risks to human health and our environment. Not just in Northern Ireland, but in other places too. Our economy, wildlife and public health are all at severe risk.

We cannot and will not accept ongoing threats to our precious waters. Your absurd anti-environmental agenda has only made the calls for an Independent Environmental Protection Agency get even louder.

No matter how regressive this proposal may be, we can assure you that you’ve given us some hope of finding a way out of these unchartered waters. NGOs and communities are coming together to speak out against this.

Bring hope and not contempt for our communities. Stop this dangerous funding cut before it causes untold damage to our coasts and communities.

Yours faithfully, 

Your name, alongisde: 

Friends of the Earth 
Friends of the Earth Ireland 
Surfers Against Sewage Northern Ireland
The Environmental Gathering
Ulster Angling Federation  
Lagan River Trust
Sustainable Northern Ireland
Environmental Justice Network Ireland 
Environmental Pillar
1 Open letter
2 Your details

Protect our seas before its too late.