Planning Portal

PPS 15: Planning and Flood Risk
Annex E Roles and Responsibilities - Drainage and Flood Regulation

E1 The following list provides a summary of the main Agencies with responsibilities relevant to the regulation of drainage and flood risk in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Rivers Agency

E2 Under the provisions of the Drainage (Northern Ireland) Order 1973 the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has discretionary powers to:
  • maintain watercourses and sea defences that have been designated
  • by the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland;
  • construct and maintain flood defence structures;
  • administer advisory and enforcement procedures to protect the drainage function of all watercourses; and
  • charge developers for the cost of drainage infrastructure works necessary to facilitate new development.
E3 All executive functions arising from the DARD's statutory remit under the Drainage order are undertaken by the Rivers Agency Opens link in a new browser window which also exercises DARD's responsibilities in regard to the water levels in Lough Neagh and Lough Erne.

The Department for Regional Development, Water Service

E4 Water Service Opens link in a new browser window is an executive agency within the Department for Regional Development. Its responsibilities include:
  • the supply and distribution of drinking water;
  • the provision of the collection system and treatment service for domestic sewage, surface water and trade effluent;
  • the management and maintenance of public water mains and sewers; and
  • operation of the Service's reservoirs, pumping stations and treatments works.

The Department of the Environment, Environment & Heritage Service

E5 Environment & Heritage Service (EHS) Opens link in a new browser window is an executive agency within the Department of the Environment. It has a duty under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 to promote the conservation of water resources in Northern Ireland having regard to the needs of industry and agriculture, the protection of fisheries, the protection of public health, the preservation of amenity and the conservation of flora and fauna. EHS is also responsible for the implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) on the management of water quality.
E6 Within EHS, Water Management Unit has responsibility for the protection of the aquatic environment. Its responsibilities include:
  • monitoring water quality;
  • preparing water quality management plans;
  • controlling effluent discharges;
  • taking action to combat or minimise the effects of pollution; and
  • supporting environmental research.

The Department of the Environment, Planning Service

E7 Planning Service is an executive agency within the Department of the Environment. The purpose of the planning system is to regulate development and land use in the public interest the functions of planning are set out in the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 and Planning Service exercises this responsibility through the key actions of:
  • the development control process which deals with individual planning applications and the enforcement of planning control;
  • the preparation of development plans; and
  • the formulation of planning policies for all of Northern Ireland.
E8 Development and use of land carries with it the potential to impact upon the aquatic environment. It can adversely impact upon drainage and consequently may worsen flooding in addition to being at direct risk of flooding if inappropriately located. Therefore, issues relating to drainage and flooding are material to planning decisions and a consideration for Planning Service in the execution of its responsibilities under the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.
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