Dilapidated/dangerous buildings and neglected sites policy consultation

Consultation opened on 10 March 2016. Closing date 30 June 2016.


The Minister of the Environment has initiated a review of the legislation available to district councils to deal with the impact on local environmental quality of dilapidated/dangerous buildings and neglected sites. Much of the legislation relating to this area of environmental policy dates back to the 19th century and in many cases applies only to specific geographic locations.

This consultation considers a range of options to enhance protection of the environment by ensuring that district councils have the appropriate powers to effectively tackle this problem. The Department invites comments on the content of the consultation document and any other relevant issues from organisations or individuals.


Consultation description

This consultation document outlines the policy issues that have been identified during the review and suggests four potential policy options.

The problems associated with dilapidation are many and varied, and include:

  • disease and other health effects, both physical and mental
  • potential for increased anti-social behaviour
  • loss of amenity (including visual amenity)
  • effects on property value
  • danger to the public
  • impact on tourism and inward investment etc.

Specific issues identified as priorities by stakeholders, particularly those engaged in implementing the provisions of existing legislation, include the need for:

  • more robust cost recovery provisions
  • wider powers, similar to those available to local authorities in England and Wales
  • a streamlining of disparate regimes with enhanced clarity for practitioners and property owners alike

The four options put forward in the consultation paper are:

  • Option 1: Do nothing
  • Option 2: The Department produces non-statutory guidance for councils to assist them in applying existing legislation
  • Option 3: A new Assembly Bill is introduced, consolidating and amending, where appropriate, the legislation currently available to district councils
  • Option 4: A new Assembly Bill is introduced with provisions for a new, broader enforcement regime that addresses the issues raised by stakeholders and puts NI on a legislative par with surrounding jurisdictions

The purpose of the paper is to canvass the views of a wide range of stakeholders across the various sectors potentially affected by such a change. This document has been published in electronic format but a hard copy can be provided on request.

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