A new online system to register a complaint about public authorities failing to implement environmental law has gone live, Environment Minister Gordon Lyons MLA has announced.
A new body, the Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat (IEGS), has been established on a temporary basis now that the European Commission no longer has an environmental oversight role. Its key role in Northern Ireland will be the management of complaints. It will operate until later in the year when the proposed Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) is expected to be established.
“Our environment is valuable in its own right but it also sustains economic growth and facilitates social wellbeing, so its protection and enhancement are top priorities for me. As we await the introduction of the OEP, this new system means everyone can be reassured that environmental oversight will not simply be ignored,” said Minister Lyons.
“This new IEGS case management system allows members of the public to register any complaints they have about how public authorities here might be failing to properly implement our environmental laws,” he added.
IEGS has been established by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). IEGS will manage complaints for England and Northern Ireland for the interim period.
Complaints can be submitted to IEGS.
Notes to editors:
1. Provisions to establish the OEP are contained within the Environment Bill which has had its passage through Parliament delayed due to Covid. Royal Assent is expected to be granted in autumn 2021.
2. On 31 December 2020, the environmental oversight role of the European Commission ceased. It was originally envisaged that the OEP would be established by 1 January 2021 but is not now expected to become fully functional until late 2021.
3. The IEGS has been established to minimise the impact of the delay in establishing the OEP.
4. Commencement of the provisions establishing the OEP in Northern Ireland is subject to the approval of the Assembly.
5. Guidance on how to complain to the IEGS can be found on the IEGS website.
6. You can contact IEGS on 03300 416 581 or email: IEGSEnquiries@daera-ni.gov.uk
You can write to the team at:
Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat
c/o Environment Bill Team,
Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs
Environmental Policy Division
2nd Floor Klondyke Building
Gasworks Business Park
7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.