GPNI reacts to devastating Infrastructure Department budget consultation
The Green Party NI has expressed deep concern at the publication of the Department for Infrastructure’s budget consultation.
Cllr Rachel Woods said, ‘The Department for Infrastructure published its final budget allocations for this financial year on the 3rd of July, which, if implemented, is worrying and will have disturbing impacts on the delivery of public services and for community good.
The Department is facing a shortfall of over £100m, which has led to some great programmes being cut, including the cycling proficiency scheme for the development of children and young people’s cycling, reducing grants to community places which provides independent planning advice to communities - a huge blow to support that is crucial in challenging the unfair and unjust planning system. Also cut includes the funding to the Active Travel School Programme - again detrimental to our children and young people.
The fact that there have been considerations given to stopping the community transport scheme in its entirety, switching off streetlights and stopping waste water treatment is an absolute disgrace. We already have more than seven million tonnes of raw sewage being dumped into Northern Ireland’s seas and rivers every year - an environmental and health nightmare. This should not even be considered as an option this year as it would cause even more deterioration of our water quality with devastating consequences. We need to ensure that our infrastructure has the capacity to respond to increases in flooding, otherwise Northern Ireland’s pollution problem is just going to increase.
This is another example of the impact of the implementation of a punishment budget by the Westminster government. It will directly impact vulnerable groups in society, including children and young people and further negatively hurt our already polluted environment. We are in a climate and biodiversity crisis - this is not the time for cuts, but to build greener, cleaner and fairer communities.”