Pollution Prevention and the NIEA

The following explains the role of the Pollution Prevention Team in reducing incidents of pollution, the enforcement actions available to them, and advice on specific pollution prevention issues.

NIEA Pollution Prevention Team

The Water Management Unit’s Pollution Prevention Team is involved in several areas of environmental protection to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and works proactively with industry and the public to prevent contravention of Article 7 (1) of the Water (NI) Order 1999, which makes it an offence to cause the release of polluting discharges to any waterway.

Pollution Prevention Advice

The Pollution Prevention Team’s aim is to reduce the impact of human activities on the quality of Northern Ireland’s water environment by offering advice based on best practice and current regulatory requirements to mitigate against the possibility of pollution incidents occurring.

The team carries out the following proactive initiatives:

Enforcement options

Under the terms of the Water (NI) Order 1999, NIEA may issue a number of Notices and apply for a Court Order to prevent pollution or remedy it.

  • a Prevention Notice (Article 8 of Water (NI) Order 1999)
  • an Enforcement Notice (Article 12 of Water (NI) Order 1999)
  • a Prohibition Notice to deal with pollution emergencies (Article 15 of Water (NI) Order 1999)
  • an Anti-Pollution Works Notice (Article 17 of Water (NI) Order 1999) (Link to Consultation paper)
  • a Court Order (Article 7(4) of Water (NI) Order 1999)


For advice on specific pollution prevention issues please refer to Guidance for Pollution Prevention (GPPs) or contact the Pollution Prevention Team by emailing nieapollutionprevention@daera-ni.gov.uk to arrange a site meeting.

It is well worth spending some time and money to prevent water pollution from occurring as it is an offence to cause pollution, either deliberately or accidentally.

In addition to any fine a court may impose, a person found guilty of causing pollution may;

  • Have to pay for analysis and court costs;
  • Be liable for the cost of clean-up operations, which can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds and;
  • Have to pay compensation to angling clubs if a fish kill occurs.

Finally, the negative publicity accompanying a pollution incident will often damage a company's image due to society's increasing environmental awareness.

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