Planning Portal

Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Public Utilities

The provision of public services and utilities within the District is primarily the responsibility of a number of Government Departments and Agencies, Magherafelt District Council and statutory bodies.  However, the role of the private sector is becoming more important. The main services are water and sewerage, drainage, flooding, waste disposal, cemeteries, electricity and telecommunications.
The Department consulted with all statutory agencies and bodies with responsibility for the provision of public services and utilities within the District during the preparation of the Plan, and the information provided by those agencies is as contained within the Plan and Public Utilities Technical Supplement.

Regional Policy Context

The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) provides the strategic environmental context for the delivery of public services and utilities.
Prevailing regional planning policy relating to these topics is set out in, PPS 10 - Telecommunications, PPS 11 - Planning and Waste Management, PPS 15 - Planning and Flood Risk and PPS 18 – Renewable Energy.
The Rural Strategy contains current regional planning policy on overhead electricity cables.
Supplementary guidance is contained within DCAN 14: Siting and Design of Radio Telecommunication Equipment.

Water and Sewage

The abstraction, treatment and supply of drinking water and conveyance and treatment of sewage are the responsibility of Northern Ireland Water (NIW). Future improvements to this infrastructure are also the responsibility of NIW.
The main water source for the Magherafelt District is Lough Neagh. Water is abstracted from the Lough and treated in the Moyola Water Treatment Works. Treated water is pumped to a command service reservoir at Mullaghboy Hill. Water is supplied from Mullaghboy service reservoir to Magherafelt Town and is also transported to local service reservoirs at Moneymore, Windmill Hill, Gulladuff and Draperstown.
The western side of the District is supplied from Lough Fea Water Treatment Works through a series of service reservoirs, which supply Draperstown, Moydamlaght, Maghera (high area) and Swatragh.
The future infrastructural requirements of the Plan Area are determined on the basis of a number of appraisal studies including Watermain Zonal Studies, Drainage Area Studies and Wastewater Treatment Work Studies.
Throughout the District, NIW has schemes programmed to upgrade the water and sewerage system, where required, and to comply with EU directives, to ensure water quality and meet increasing demand. Details of the current programme of upgrade to the sewerage infrastructure are provided in Appendix 4 of the Plan. This Table lists each Wastewater Treatment Works throughout the Plan Area in five categories. Those listed within category 1 are deemed satisfactory and capable of accommodating all development within its catchment area that is proposed in the Plan throughout the plan period. Category 2 details upgraded works that will be operational from March 2012. Category 3 details those Works programmed for upgrade during 2011 to 2013 subject to funding. Category 4 lists those where there is no capacity during the Plan period and Category 5 lists those settlements not currently served by a Waste Water Treatment Works.


The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Rivers Agency, is the statutory drainage and flood protection authority and will be consulted in relation to applications for development which may affect watercourses and floodplains.
In accordance with government policy, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is committed to the introduction of procedures for the recovery of developer contributions towards the costs of drainage infrastructure improvement work. Currently, drainage improvements necessary to permit development are subject to strict cost/ benefit criteria and scheme prioritisation and whilst drainage works to facilitate development may be identified as viable, their implementation will be dependant on the availability of resources. This situation pertains to a considerable number of sites proposed for housing in the Plan.
For those sites where necessary infrastructure improvements are not viable, Rivers Agency will not consent to any additional run-off beyond existing rates. In both of these circumstances, developers are recommended to consult with Rivers Agency and Northern Ireland Water (NIW) at an early stage prior to submission of a planning application, in order to ensure proper management and acceptable means of storm water drainage systems.
Many existing urban drainage systems are damaging the environment and are, therefore, not sustainable in the long term. The government wishes to promote a move to Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). These provide a number of techniques for draining an area. Details of SUDs and the techniques are detailed in PPS 15 - Planning and Flood Risk.
While awaiting the final research report into the use of SUDS, current understanding suggests that the use of appropriately scaled and supported SUDs can, in the right circumstances, offer developers the opportunity to proceed with developments which would otherwise be refused due to the increased flood risk they would pose.
There are a number of recorded flooded areas that significantly affect particular settlements within the District. Major areas of flooding are located:
  • to the south of Maghera
  • to the north and east of Tobermore
  • to the south of Castledawson
  • at Upperlands
  • at Clady
  • at Inishrush
  • to the east of Tamlaght
  • at Culnady
  • at Curran.
This list is not exhaustive nor is it intended to include the floodplain of every watercourse in the District.
The Strategic Flood Map (NI) – Rivers and Sea was published in November 2008 and is available on the Rivers Agency website Opens link in a new browser window. The main purpose of this map is to give an indication of the areas across Northern Ireland that may be at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea. The map can be accessed via the internet web viewer which will allow users, subject to acceptance of terms and conditions, to view any specific areas of interest using a search facility and to print sections of the map.
Prospective developers are advised to contact the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Rivers Agency, at an early stage to clarify flooding or floodplain issues that may affect particular sites.

Waste Disposal

It is not the purpose of the Plan to prescribe either the preferred methods of dealing with waste materials or specific sites for new facilities. These matters are determined by the producers or holders of waste in the context of land use policies and the Waste Management Strategy for Northern Ireland.
The management of waste is an essential community service. Presently Magherafelt District Council operates a landfill site at Ballymacombs approximately 7 kilometres north east of Magherafelt town.
As part of the North West Region Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) Magherafelt District Council is currently working with 6 other Councils to develop a sustainable solution for waste management in the District.
Recycling and composting in the NWRWMG is facilitated through the provision of bottle banks and civic amenity sites within the District. Civic amenity sites are located at Magherafelt, Maghera, Castledawson, Tobermore, Bellaghy, Upperlands, and Draperstown.


Magherafelt District Council has responsibility for a number of cemeteries within the District. Some churches also manage associated cemeteries and burial grounds.


Northern Ireland Electricity will continue to develop existing 33kV and 11kV distribution networks as customer requirements and demand change in the future. The existing 33kV networks within the District are presently being reinforced.


Telecommunications provision within the District is primarily the responsibility of British Telecom, supplemented by a number of other private companies. There are a number of providers operating mobile telecommunication networks within the District.
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