Cookstown Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Utilities
The provision of utilities within Cookstown District is primarily the responsibility of a number of Government Departments and Agencies, the District Council and statutory bodies. However, the role of the private sector as service providers is gaining in importance. Over the plan period, the provision of utilities will be influenced by advances in technology and improving standards.
Water and Sewage Infrastructure
The provision of water and sewage infrastructure in Cookstown District is the responsibility of the Department for Regional Development's Water Service. Water is supplied from two main sources, Lough Fea and Lough Neagh.
Water is distributed throughout the area by means of a network of service reservoirs and watermains. Work progresses to enhance the distribution system. A new service reservoir at Unagh to the northwest of Cookstown provides water for the urban area and the rural east of the town. A new service reservoir on Magherafelt Road at Moneymore has also been completed to secure supply to Moneymore and the rural area to the south. A network trunkmain link has been provided between the Moyola and Lough Fee Supply Zones, to enable the bulk transfer of water between supply zones.
The watermain distribution network is currently being appraised under a Watermain Zonal Study. The study will identify watermains which require to be replaced or upgraded to cater for current and future development. Ongoing work to replace existing mains will be completed on a rolling programme over the plan period. Schemes recently completed include the replacement and upgrade of iron mains in the Tullywiggan, Dunnamore, Gortreagh and Dromore areas. Existing watermains should have adequate capacity to serve small-scale developments in villages and countryside settlements.
The sewer network is also being appraised in the towns and villages within the area. Drainage Area Studies are currently substantially complete for Cookstown and Moneymore. The studies will provide a model which will assess the hydraulic capability of the drainage systems to cater for current and future development. Recommendations from the studies will be implemented across the District over the plan period. Flood alleviation projects to enhance the sewer networks are presently being constructed at Molesworth Road/Street, Cookstown and construction will begin soon on improvements to the drainage system at Hammond Street, Moneymore. A sewerage scheme near King's Bridge, Cookstown, to cater for proposed and existing industrial, commercial and residential developments south of the Ballinderry River, is substantially complete and in service.
Most settlements in the District are serviced by existing wastewater treatment works. A programme of optimisation improvements has been implemented at villages and small settlements across the area. Sewage treatment facilities in the District are subject to the requirements of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) which will (by the end of 2005) apply to all settlements with populations in excess of 2,000 persons. Work has commenced on the construction of a new wastewater treatment works to service Cookstown town and the immediate catchment. The new works will be available in 2005. New wastewater treatment works constructed at Killygonlan/Ardboe and Drapersfield are in operation. A new wastewater treatment works will be provided at Dunnamore as part of the Dunnamore sewerage scheme, which is currently under construction. A new wastewater treatment works is scheduled for Moortown/Cluntorichardson, programmed for construction in 2004. First time public sewerage systems are also proposed for Corvananagh and Springhill. Optimisation improvements have been carried out to wastewater treatment works at Coagh, The Rock, Sandholes, Stewartstown and Moneymore. A full appraisal study is being carried out on all village/small settlement wastewater treatment works in the Cookstown area. Further information and guidance specific to each village is provided in Part 3 of the Plan.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's (DARD) Rivers Agency has responsibility for drainage and will be consulted in relation to the following aspects of planning applications for development:
- susceptibility of land to flooding;
- discharge of storm water to watercourses; and
- requirements with regard to designated watercourses.
In Cookstown the main areas subject to flood risk lie along the Ballinderry River, on the west bank downstream from King's Bridge near the Otter Lodge restaurant, and on the west bank downstream from Derryloran Bridge near the Glenavon Hotel. The river can also flood at other sporadic locations in the town. Marginal flooding occurs at times along the Ballinderry River at Coagh. This is mostly confined to the recreational areas immediately upstream and downstream of Coagh Bridge. In Moneymore, low lying areas along Moneyhaw River may be liable to flooding and in Ballyronan there are minor capacity problems associated with the designated watercourse.
Many existing urban drainage systems are damaging the environment and are therefore not sustainable in the long term. The government wishes to promote a move to Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). These provide a number of options for draining an area and fall into three broad groups that aim to:
- reduce the quantity of runoff from the site (source control techniques);
- slow the velocity of runoff to allow settlement filtering and infiltration (permanent conveyance systems); and
- provide passive treatment to collected surface water before discharging into land or to a watercourse (end of pipe systems).
In setting standards for the quality and volume of discharges from sewage treatment works, and from industry to watercourses, the Department of the Environment's Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) will take account of the requirements of national policy, EC Directives, and international agreements in relation to water quality. Within the District a number of rivers have, for example, been designated under the terms of the EC Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC).
A River Conservation Strategy for Northern Ireland was published in January 2001 by EHS.
The management of waste is an essential community service. It is not the purpose of the Plan to prescribe either the preferred methods of dealing with waste materials or specific sites for new facilities. These are matters to be determined by the producers, holders or processors of waste in the context of future waste management policy in Northern Ireland, and the Department's regional planning policies. The Department published a Waste Management Strategy for Northern Ireland (WMS) in March 2000. The key aim of the WMS is to achieve fully sustainable waste management through the controlled reduction in landfill, waste minimisation and a significant increase in waste recycling and recovery. At present, the predominant method of dealing with waste materials arising in the District is to dispose of them by land filling/landraising. Cookstown District Council will continue to have a statutory responsibility for the collection of waste and the production of a waste management plan. While most waste products in the District are disposed of on landfill sites located at Drumshambo and Magheraglass, recycling operations are also facilitated through the provision of various sites in the District for the collection of materials suitable for reuse. The existing landfill site at Drumshambo will close at some point within the plan period and all waste will be disposed of at Magheraglass. This facility has sufficient capacity to cater for the municipal waste disposal needs of the District over the plan period.
Telecommunication provision within the District is mainly the responsibility of British Telecom supplemented by a number of other providers.
Regional Planning Context
The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) provides the strategic environmental context for the delivery of public services and utilities and includes the following guidelines:
- to undertake or, where appropriate, facilitate a programme of infrastructure improvements essential to business needs;
- to create healthier living environments and to support healthy lifestyles;
- to promote more prudent and efficient use of energy and resources and effective waste management.
The Department's regional planning policies for utilities in Cookstown District are currently set out in A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland. This contains policies for new infrastructure, major projects and infrastructure costs. It also addresses the disposal or treatment of waste materials and development at risk from flooding or land instability and includes policies on overhead cables, renewable energy, telecommunications and septic tanks.
Prevailing regional policy in relation to telecommunications is provided by Planning Policy Statement 10 (PPS 10): Telecommunications, and in relation to Waste Management is provided by Planning Policy Statement 11 (PPS 11): Planning and Waste Management. A PPS on flooding is in the process of preparation by the Department of the Environment.