Pollution prevention and the NIEA

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

Pollution prevention

The Pollution Prevention Team aims to achieve a 20% reduction in the number of high and medium severity, water pollution incidents, by March 2003, based on 1996 figures.

To prevent incidents from occurring or minimize the effect of pollution on the environment, the team carries out the following proactive initiatives:

  • education of the Public and industry about the effects and consequences of pollution
  • distribution of advisory publications to the Public and Industry
  • offering advice during site meetings
  • promotion of good environmental practices
  • targeting industrial areas with potential to have, or a history of environmental impact
  • participation in and forming working parties

NIEA Yellow Fish Campaign

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 view our publications section or contact us to arrange a site meeting with our field staff, or ourselves.

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
  • may be liable for the cost of clean-up operations, which can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds
  • may 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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