Department of the Environment

Department of the Environment, Northern Ireland

The Department of the Environment operates under the direction and control of the Minister for the Environment. The Minister determines the Department’s policies, programmes and priorities in the context of the Executive’s Programmes and Budgetary allocations. The Department is organised into three Business Groups who work in close partnership under the direction of the Minister to achieve the Department’s overall vision and strategic objectives.

The vision is to make Northern Ireland ‘a better environment, a stronger economy’ and ‘to protect and improve the environment, promote well being, and support a sustainable economy, and strong, effective local government‘.

In carrying out the role of supporting and advising the Minister, the Department’s main functions include:
• Protection, conservation and promotion of the natural environment and built heritage;
• Planning development and control;
• Driver, operator and vehicle licensing and testing;
• Planning and environmental policy and legislation;
• Local government policy; and
• Road safety policy, including strategies to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

How the Department was involved in the ReNEW project

The Department of the Environment produced documentation and reports to discuss with policy makers at a European, national and local level. All documentation was written with the audience in mind (non-technical language), and included key words identified by the RENEW transnational partnership and its stakeholders – these documents showed the importance of progressing and, where necessary, identifying changes in policy support for the waste sector. Letters of support from stakeholders will provide an additional dimension for delivery of this task.

The Department also aimed to disseminate the RENEW message regarding the innovation needs of the NWE waste sector at the European Parliament and European Commission.

The Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland appointed a Senior Project Manager through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to facilitate and support policy development through the production of policy papers, seminars and liaison with appropriate stakeholders in government and the commercial sector.

WRAP is a non-governmental organisation whose objectives are in line with the Department’s Waste Management Strategy – “Delivering Resource Efficiency”. WRAP was set up in 2000 to help improve recycling in the UK; initially by creating markets for recycled materials. WRAP is funded by Defra and the devolved administrations with its vision being a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. WRAP is an evidence-based organisation with sector-leading expertise and a reputation as the UK's most authoritative body on waste, recycling and resource efficiency.

What has the Department contributed?

The Department of the Environment develops policy and legislation and delivers the regulation and incentives to improve sustainable resource efficiency in respect of many of the waste streams in Northern Ireland. The Department also provides input to the UK negotiations at EU level therefore officials are well experienced in terms of informing EU policy and in the transposition and implementation of EU Directives and decisions.

More information on the Department of the Environment