An MHK has blasted further delays to plans for sewage treatment in Peel and Laxey.

Kate Lord-Brennan said untreated sewage continues to be discharged into Peel bay and this remained ‘the shame of the island’.

The new Peel treatment works had been due to be completed by the final quarter of next year.

But issues with supply of vital wastewater treatment equipment have delayed the target for full commissioning to the final quarter of 2026 - although Manx Utilities said elements of the project can be completed earlier to provide clean bathing water by the summer of that year.

The Garff facility, meanwhile, was due to be completed by the first quarter of 2026 but the target date for that is now the fourth quarter of that year.

Glenfaba and Peel MHK Ms Lord-Brennan said: ‘There is an impolite but apt phrase that springs to mind that would describe this situation in terms of handling and simply getting on with things to solve this issue of gross pollution which is appalling, and should not be regarded as normal or acceptable or overlooked. 

‘MU indicate they are apparently trying to speed up progress, but by no stretch of the imagination has this been handled well enough, fast enough or with enough impetus, in my view.

‘Apparently as a mitigation, MU say that there will be screens provided to remove solid material from discharge prior to the 2026 “bathing season”.  This non-fix is not something we should be grateful for.’

Manx Utilities submitted its planning application for the treatment works on land west of Glenfaba Road fields in November last year (23/01407/B).

It will provide modern waste water treatment facilities for Peel and discharge treated effluent via the existing sea outfall. The authority hopes that planning consent can be secured in the second quarter of this year.

A spokesperson for Manx Utilities said: ‘We are committed to delivering the regional sewage treatment strategy for both Peel and Garff, the remaining areas of our island coastline requiring modern-day sewage treatment.

‘Manx Utilities continues to work extremely hard to de-risk the project and protect the public purse.

‘However, the organisation has said that it could not foresee the current issues in the UK wastewater industry, which have put pressure on supply chains for wastewater infrastructure and specifically the IRBC (Integrated Rotating Biological Contractor) unit and therefore had a knock-on effect on the final delivery milestone.

‘As a result, subject to planning permission, Manx Utilities’ intention is to bring forward elements of the project to support delivery of clean bathing water prior to the summer 2026 season.’

Tynwald approved in July 2022 an additional £16.95m expenditure to the previously approved £23.5m to complete the island’s regional sewage treatment strategy taking in the catchments of Peel, Baldrine and Laxey.

Manx Utilities had originally planned to site the new treatment works at Glenfaba House but withdrew its application in 2020 after a planning inspector recommended its refusal.