§ Lord Laird
asked Her Majesty's Government: Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 24 February (WA 40), why those public authorities who own land or roadways adjacent to the Knock and Connswater Rivers do not clear the channels of those rivers; and why clearing of rivers in Northern Ireland is not the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Rivers Agency.
§ Baroness Amos:
The major urban sections of the Knock and Connswater Rivers are designated watercourses within the terms of the Drainage (NI) Order 1973 and therefore channel maintenance to ensure free flows is the responsibility of the Rivers Agency, and not adjacent landowners.
Only very short sections are undesignated and the public authorities owning adjacent lands have been advised of their responsibility for channel clearance.
The Rivers Agency's drainage remit in clearing rivers in Northern Ireland is limited to those watercourses designated by the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland. In general designated watercourses are those deemed to be beyond the maintenance capability of adjacent landowners and in which works at public expense provide value for money.