Northern Ireland formally ends the fitting of domestic water meters

In one of its final legislative moves before dissolution the Northern Ireland Assembly has passed regulations to end formally the installation of water meters in homes in the province infrastructure minister, Chris Hazzard, had ordered Northern Ireland Water to stop installing domestic water metres six months ago.

"Installing meters currently costs the public purse around £200,000 per year. This is a waste of money given these will not be used. This legislation will end this waste of valuable resources," he said.

More than 42,000 domestic meters have been installed, at a cost of more than £13 million. Critics claimed they were being fitted in order to pave the way for separate water charges.

Hazzard said the regulations "reinforced” the executive's commitment not to bring in water charging for households.

Currently the average domestic rates bill includes a sum of around £160 a year towards water and sewerage services.