The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is an Executive Agency within the Department of Environment (Northern Ireland), operating within the context of the Department’s overall vision and strategic objectives.
We are headed by a Chief Executive who is also the Agency Accounting Officer, designated by and accountable to the Principal Accounting Officer of the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland), and Parliament, for the effective financial management of the Agency.
Our key performance targets are agreed with the Minister responsible for the Department of the Environment. At the end of the financial year, we report our performance against these targets in our Annual Report and Accounts which is laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly.
We have a remit that covers a very wide range of environmental issues. The NIEA Board spans three Directorates - Natural Heritage, Built Heritage and Environmental Protection.
NIEA is the only agency in the UK which covers all three areas of Environmental Protection, Natural Heritage and Built Heritage.
A copy of our structure is attached.
Our Mission, Vision and Aims
Our mission is to lead the way in protecting the environment and built heritage, supporting well-being and the economy.
Our aim is to protect, conserve and promote the natural environment and built heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.
Our vision is that we will have a healthy and well protected environment and heritage in Northern Ireland which contributes to the social and economic well-being of the whole community.
To achieve our aim and vision, we are working towards four long term environmental outcomes:
- Sustainable use and protection of our natural resources;
- Improved conservation and management of our natural heritage;
- Improved conservation and protection of our built heritage; and
- Better public awareness and understanding of the environment.
We take the lead in advising on, and in implementing, the Government's environmental policy and strategy in Northern Ireland. We carry out a range of activities, which promote the Government's key themes of sustainable development, biodiversity and climate change.
In delivering our four long term outcomes the role of NIEA is to:
- Promote both public awareness of environmental issues and action to deal with them;
- Regulate adverse human impacts upon the environment;
- Work in partnership with others to protect the environment;
- Provide financial support to others to encourage action to protect the environment;
- Manage our properties (historic monuments, country parks and national nature reserves) to promote public access to, and understanding of the environment; and
- Advise Government and other key sectors on environmental issues.
In 2008 we published Northern Ireland’s first report on the State of the Environment which provided new understanding of the overall pressures facing us. The report identified climate change, social and economic growthand rural land use as significant issues for our future. www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/stateoftheenvironmentreportfornorthernirelandsummarydocument.pdf
We work closely with other government departments and authorities to share expert knowledge in an encompassing range of environmental matters. We help define strategies and policies on the most effective ways to limit the adverse environmental effects of modern society. From air quality to urban development, we play a key role in advising government on how these can impact on natural resources, wildlife and architecture.
Our main operational responsibilities are:
- · Control of pollution through prevention, response, licensing and enforcement;
- · Conservation of biodiversity;
- · Improvement of water quality;
- · Regulation of activities with the potential to have an environmental impact;
- · Conservation and promotion of historic buildings and monuments;
- · Designation of important natural and historic features, landscapes and habitats;
- · Research and monitoring to provide sound evidence for environmental action; and
- · Management and promotion of nature reserves, country parks and cultural heritage.
Our work reflects a diverse and integrated network that draws on many different scientific and professional skills and expertise. This variety of skills and experience allows us to manage and protect our landscapes and their wildlife, to maintain a cleaner, greener environment and to record and conserve historic monuments and buildings.
Our work includes:
- Regulating over 400 different emissions through the application of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control;
- Playing a vital part in the Northern Ireland Land Use Planning system by providing advice and comment on 8,000 consultations every year;
- Caring for 191 historic monuments and maintaining the list of 8,500 buildings of special architectural or historic importance;
- Managing 7 country parks, 60 nature reserves and 15 visitor centres.
Each year we:
- Respond to 2,000 reports of water pollution;
- Carry out 13,000 inspection, investigation or compliance monitoring visits;
- Welcome 2 million visitors to our historic monuments, country parks and nature reserves.
In 2010/11, NIEA:
- Handled 6,000 applications for licences, approvals, consents or permits;
- Undertook 2,000 enforcement actions, and seized £190,000 of property from criminals who had caused environmental damage;
- Processed 28,500 consignment notes to allow the safe movement of hazardous waste;
- Attracted a record number of 57,000 visitors during European Heritage Open Days;
- Promoted and delivered 15 major ‘flagship’ family events and around 250 small scale seasonal events;
- Provided £2.7 million in grant aid via the Natural Heritage Grant Programme to support a total of 68 projects delivered by 38 organisations;
- Designated a further 25 Areas of Special Scientific Interest, meeting the target of 75 new declarations over the lifetime of the Programme for Government.
NIEA employs over 700 staff at its headquarters buildings in Belfast and Lisburn and a number of regional parks and office locations across Northern Ireland. Our primary source of income in terms of Departmental Resource and Capital Expenditure continues to come from Central Government and our total resource costs currently stand around £42m. We also receive around £7m of fees income, primarily from our regulatory regimes.
Chief Executive – John McMillen
Director of Environmental Protection – Dave Foster
Address: Klondyke Building, Cromac Avenue, Gasworks Business Park, Belfast, BT7 2JA, Northern Ireland
Tel:+44 (0)28 9056 9210
More information about NIEA is available at www.doeni.gov.uk/niea. and is also contained in these factsheets