‘No permission’ for Boghill Dam works

Boghill Dam.
Boghill Dam.

The owners of a dam in Newtownabbey have been told to cease work at the site until additional information is submitted to the Department for Infrastructure.

It comes after an operation to reduce water levels to address “serious safety concerns” commenced at Boghill Dam.

A Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokesman said: “Any proposal to drain Boghill Dam would require the consent of DfI Rivers only insofar as the works would affect the drainage function of the adjacent watercourse.

“The Department was not informed that the reduction in water level was about to commence. Once it became aware of this, the Department requested that this work was stopped.”

The spokesman added: “The Department has requested additional drainage information as it needs to be satisfied that there will be no increased downstream flood risk caused by these works.

“The Department will continue its discussions with the dam owner and his professional advisors and once this additional information is received the Department will be in a position to consider if there are any adverse drainage impacts as a consequence of the works.”

In response, a spokesperson for Boghill Dam Ltd said: “Rigorous assessments carried out by an independent All Reservoirs Panel Engineer have highlighted serious safety concerns at Boghill Dam.

“As the dam owner, we have a statutory duty of care to make the dam safe. During a visit to the dam on November 8, the All Reservoirs Panel Engineer advised that an immediate lowering of the water level by 2.5m was required without delay.

“We commenced the necessary works in light of this direction and are in contact with the council planning authorities and local representatives to ensure they are kept informed during this process. Up to 3m of water will remain in the reservoir following these works.

“These measures are essential to protect homes situated downstream of the reservoir.”

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has received a complaint from a local resident about the works at the Mallusk site.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “Council officers met with the owner of Boghill Dam and his professional advisors on October 23, 2018. At the meeting the owner advised that an All Reservoirs Panel Engineer had completed a detailed inspection of the Dam in 2016 and had prepared a report outlining a series of measures to be undertaken in the interests of safety.

“Subsequent to the meeting, the owner made the council aware of increasing concerns by the All Reservoirs Panel Engineer who had revisited the site on November 8, 2018 and had directed him to lower the water level by 2.5m as an expedient measure without delay.”

The spokesperson added: “Earlier this week the council received a complaint regarding earth moving works taking place at the dam and the site was subsequently inspected by council officers.

“Whilst no planning permission has been sought for these works the owner has advised the council these are necessary to implement the direction to reduce the water level in the interests of public safety.

“The council is also liaising closely with officials in DfI Rivers and is aware that it is currently in discussions with the dam owner and his professional advisors regarding the proposal to reduce the water level of the dam.”