Monday, 5 October 2009

The issue of the depot hasn't gone away

For some time now, I have been lobbying the Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy as well as Belfast City council on the issue of the Translink Bus Depot located in the heart of the Short Strand.

Anecdotally, the residents in our community have had firmly held beliefs that the fumes from this facility have a direct impact upon the health standards in the area; I have repeatedly called for a comprehensive health survey to study the health implications of having a large bus depot located in the middle of a small residential area.

Thus far the City Council have said that the pollution levels are within adequate levels, neither I nor the community in the Short Strand accept this.

I know, having spoken with him on this issue, that the Minister Conor Murphy shares my concerns.

It is unacceptable that the 9th most socio-economically deprived electoral ward in the north of Ireland is inflicted with what is essentially and out dated, unnecessary and dangerous bus depot.

I have lobbied Translink on this issue who have insisted that there are no immediate plans for the bus depot.

Once again I am calling on them to review the necessity of this facility and to heed the calls of the community for immediate relocation.

Sinn Féin, in conjunction with the Short Strand community have been campaigning on this issue for a long number of years; we will continue in this endeavour and intend to up the ante over the coming weeks and months.

This image shows very clearly the proximity of the depot, and therefore the fumes, to the local community. I live just across the road from the depot and have witnessed, like many others, the cloud of fumes that hangs over the area as dozens of buses start their engines there at the crack of dawn.
I have no doubt that many people support the notion that this facility needs to be relocated and the vast amount of land used for positive development in what is an already economically deprived community. I look forward to the challenge ahead.

I will be meeting with the newly formed ‘Short Strand Healthy Living Group’ later this week and I have no doubt it will be an issue for them also.


  1. Driving past most days on the way from work to the Westlink, I've always been puzzled by the bus depot. Presumably it provides a handful of local jobs - but perhaps not enough on balance to warrant the smog?

    Maybe the cheapest solution would be to fit extractor hoses to the exhausts to take away and filter the fumes while they're idling ...

  2. That would probably be acceptable as a temporary measure but from a long term perspective, the Bus Depot remains economically unviable and also detrimental to the health of the local population; on top of this it is a massive site that actually stunts the economic development and social growth of the community around it.

    Obviously the issue of jobs is one I have raised in the past as well; my understanding is that there is small number of people employed there, I think around 2 of them are actually from the Short Strand, but those jobs, regardless of what happens to the facility further down the line, need to be protected. If this site were to relocate to a more appropriate and economically suitable location then the jobs must move also and the rights of the workers protected.