Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is again calling for everyone to use their water wisely by reducing unnecessary water use to protect supplies as the Met Office issues the first ever amber warning for extreme heat in Northern Ireland.
She is also calling on everyone to consider if journeys are necessary given the potential for transport disruption.
The warning is in place from 08:00 on Wednesday 21 July until 23.59 on Friday 23 July 2021 with day time temperatures peaking on Wednesday and Thursday and high overnight temperatures also expected before they start to fall on Friday.
Minister Mallon said: “These extremely high temperatures mean that demand for water has significantly increased with demand outstripping supply. NI Water is working hard to mitigate any impacts from this but we all have a role to play. I am appealing to everyone to please reduce unnecessary use to protect supplies. If everyone simply uses the water they actually need, there will be plenty for everyone.”
The Minister also urged the public to consider if their journey is necessary given the potential risk of delays on the rail and road network.
The Minister continued: “In light of the current high temperatures, along with the ongoing pandemic, I would remind the public to avoid visiting places where there is a chance that large numbers of people will gather and crowds will form. This is particularly important as we know that delays are likely and this may result in people being in cars or on public transport for an extended period of time which can be very uncomfortable in very hot weather.
“We know that the very high temperatures can have an impact on the rail network with track speeds reduced causing delays to services. In recent days we have seen large numbers of people flocking to beauty spots across Northern Ireland. While I understand that people want to enjoy the good weather, health and safety must be of paramount importance. Translink will work to provide some additional capacity on the busiest routes where possible however I would strongly urge the public to consider if their journey is necessary over the coming days. If you are using public transport, including the Strangford and Rathlin ferries, please remember that the rules requiring face coverings remain in place for everyone’s protection.
“The high temperatures can also have an impact on the road network. Recent weather has led to a rise in road surface temperatures and with limited cooling at night, the bitumen in some roads has softened. The Department has been spreading fine dust/grit on the worst affected roads and will continue to do so as necessary. The situation is being monitored and road users should exercise due care and attention at all times. Problems with the roads can be reported at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/report-pothole and select ‘Other surface defect’.
“We are also aware that over recent days there have been reports of problematic parking at coastal areas. I would remind everyone to park in a considerate and responsible manner when visiting local attractions and beauty spots in order to keep all road users, visitors and local residents safe.
“I would also like to place on record my thanks to all of the operational teams who are out there on the ground working in these extreme conditions to ensure we maximise our water supplies and keep our transport moving.”
There is some useful information and advice on extreme heat here: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/extreme-heat-warning-information-and-advice.
NI Water has some good tips on water conservation here How to save water. They also offer a free text alert service so that you can keep updated about anything that may impact on their water supply or any of our other services in the area. Sign up here NI Water – Keeping you informed.
Stop and think this Farm Safety Week
This week marks the 9th annual Farm Safety Week and Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons have met with farmer Derek Robinson whose son came close to losing his life when he was overcome with slurry fumes.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “Since January 2015 there have been 35 fatalities on farms in Northern Ireland and that is just too many. It is vital that we encourage all those working in the farming industry to stop and think about farm safety. By taking some simple precautions we can reduce the number of people killed and injured on our farms.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime working in the farming industry, I am well aware of the satisfaction and joy working on the farm can bring, but I also know that, all too quickly, it can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful with your equipment and your surroundings.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time now, to be extra careful and vigilant. It is vital that farmers pause and think about what they are doing before beginning work with livestock, machinery or slurry.”
Farm Safety Week is an awareness raising event that sees the Farm Safety Partnerships, Farm Safety Foundation, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority Ireland joining forces to drive the fundamental message of safety within the agricultural community home.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: “Farm Safety Week is significant in helping to focus attention on farm safety and the measures that can be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe and out of harm’s reach.
“Derek’s story is important in that it highlights the fact that while many farms are work places they are also family homes bringing additional risks and considerations. With school summer holidays upon us it is critical we are even more mindful of children on the farm and ensure all is done to avoid accidents and injury.”
Stay Safe During Hot Weather
The First Minister and deputy First Minister have encouraged everyone to stay safe and look out for others during the current spell of very hot weather.
Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill were speaking after the Met Office issued the first ever warning for extreme heat here.
Executive departments and civil contingency agencies are working to mitigate any potential impacts to health, wellbeing and public services.
First Minister Paul Givan said: “After a difficult time for the whole community, it is understandable that people want to be out and about across Northern Ireland during this period of hot, dry weather. We want everyone to enjoy the sunshine, but it is very important that everyone does it safely.
Extreme heat can have serious consequences for people’s health, public services and the environment. So we ask everyone to take steps to protect themselves. Don’t take risks that could potentially be dangerous for you, your family or the wider community.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave and temperatures here are set to escalate even further in the coming days. It is vitally important that we all follow the advice that will help to keep everyone safe.
“Of course many people are keen to experience the good weather, but we ask everyone to take care of themselves, and others so that no one comes to any harm as a result of the extreme heat. Please check in on anyone who might be more vulnerable, including older family, friends and neighbours.”
Information and advice for people during the extreme heat warning is available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/extreme-heat-warning-information-and-advice