Roles and responsibilities
Water Management Unit (WMU), within the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, has a duty to promote the conservation of the water resources of Northern Ireland and the cleanliness of water in waterways and underground.
In doing this, the NIEA must take into account the needs of industry and agriculture, the protection of fisheries, the protection of public health, the preservation of amenities, and the conservation of flora and fauna.
The WMU protects the aquatic environment through a number of activities including:
- monitoring water quality
- preparing water quality management plans
- controlling effluent discharges
- taking action to combat or minimise the effects of pollution
- supporting environmental research
- coordinating production of draft River Basin Management Plans with partners
WMU also has a role in the planning system as a consultee to advise of the likely or potential impacts of a proposed development on the aquatic environment during its construction, operation and eventual decommission, if applicable.
Once an applicant makes a planning application, planning officers will forward consultees a copy of the application form, all relevant plans and any other supporting documents that are submitted with the application.
If there is not enough information available in a planning application for WMU to fully determine the likely impact on the aquatic environment, WMU may recommend that further information be requested from the applicant. Unfortunately this can delay the planning process. WMU have therefore developed a number of planning Guidance Notes to provide advice to potential planning applicants as to WMU’s requirements and expectations when determining a planning application.
Current guidance notes
Environmental impact assessment
- EIA scoping guidance for developments likely to impact upon the water environment
- Guidance for carrying out a WFD assessment on EIA developments
- Road schemes and protection of the water environment
- EIA scoping guidance for road schemes likely to impact the water environment