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Department of the Environment (DOE)

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Driver & Vehicle Agency

About Us

Mark H Durkan was appointed Minister for the Environment in July 2013, replacing his SDLP colleague Alex Attwood. He was elected as MLA for Foyle in 2011 and served as the party’s social development and health spokesperson.

Prior to becoming an Assembly member, Mark was on Derry City Council representing the Northland district from 2005-2011. During this period he chaired the Council’s Planning Committee, Policy and Resources Committee and the Environmental Services Committee. He was a key driver in bringing forward drinking bye-laws in Derry City centre, making the streets safer and cleaner.

The Derryman is committed to ensuring that the right decisions are made as quickly as possible and that DOE delivers a better environment and a stronger economy.

Before committing to public life full-time, Mark worked in an accountancy firm. He is married to Anne and has a son, Luke and a daughter Lily. Mark is a keen runner and a follower of GAA and soccer, particularly Everton FC.

The Permanent Secretary, Leo O'Reilly (PDF, 24 KB), is the Minister's principal adviser on all aspects of the Department's responsibilities and is the Accounting Officer for all Departmental expenditure. He is assisted by the Deputy Secretary and by the Chief Executives of, Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) who are also Accounting Officers for the expenditure of their respective Agencies; and by Directors who manage the divisions.

Who we are

The Department of the Environment operates under the direction and control of the Minister for the Environment, Mark H Durkan MLA. 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.

Environment and Marine Group:

  • Environmental Policy Division
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • Marine Division

Planning Group:

  • Planning Policy Division
  • Strategic Planning Division
  • Local Planning Division

Local Government, Road Safety & Corporate Services Group:

  • Road Safety & Vehicle Regulation Division
  • Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA)
  • Finance & Business Planning Division
  • Human Resource & Organisational Change Division
  • Local Government Policy Division 1
  • Local Government Policy Division 2

The Department’s organisational structure is illustrated in Figure 1: DOE Senior Management Structure.

Contact Details

Department of the Environment
Goodwood House,
44 - 58 May Street
Town Parks
Telephone: 028 9054 0540



The Department’s organisational structure is illustrated in the diagrams below.

Departmental Board Minutes


Our vision is to make Northern Ireland ‘a better environment, a stronger economy’.


‘To protect and improve the environment, promote well being, and support a sustainable economy, and strong, effective local government‘.


The DOE seeks to ensure high standards are maintained by all its staff in fulfilling their role of supporting the Minister and delivering good quality services to our customers, many of whom contribute directly to the costs of delivering the services concerned. Our values, developed from the Civil Service Code of Ethics, identify the behaviours DOE staff will demonstrate to the Department’s customers, its stakeholders and to each other.

  • Professionalism – in all that we say and do;
  • Customer Focus – putting the obligations of public service above our own personal interests;
  • Honesty – being truthful and open;
  • Objectivity – basing advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence;
  • Impartiality – acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well
  • Governments of different political persuasions; and
  • Respect – showing consideration and thoughtfulness to others and acknowledging their rights and dignity in the workplace

What we do

In carrying out our 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 we operate

The Department operates under the direction and control of the Minister who has overall responsibility for all the Department's activities. This role includes making decisions on strategy, business objectives and the policy and legislative programme for the Department.

The Permanent Secretary is the Accounting Officer for all Departmental expenditure. He is assisted by Deputy Secretaries and Directors who manage the Groups, Agencies and Divisions within the Department.

The day to day work of the Department is co-ordinated and monitored by the Departmental Board. The Board provides leadership to the staff in the organisation as a whole, monitors the Department’s performance against its objectives and targets and provides support for the Department’s Principal Accounting Officer (the Permanent Secretary) in exercising his overall responsibility for ensuring effective systems of financial planning, monitoring and control are in place.

Corporate Governance

The Department operates corporate governance arrangements to ensure proper and effective management of the Department’s resources and the delivery of its programme and priorities within available resources. These arrangements reflect the guidelines set out in “Corporate governance in central government departments: Code of good practice (NI) 2013”, “the 2013 code” recently issued by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).

The Department’s Corporate Governance approach and procedures include regular monitoring of Corporate and Agency/Divisional Business plans, stringent financial management arrangements, Departmental policies and procedures for the management of risk, anti-fraud policies and whistle-blowing arrangements, and publication of the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts.

These arrangements are monitored by the Departmental Audit and Risk Committee and the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO), providing assurance and objective advice on issues concerning business risk, internal control and the overall corporate governance of the Department. The Department will also continue to implement its Equality Scheme to promote equality of opportunity and good relations, and its Disability Action Plan to promote positive attitudes towards disabled people and to encourage participation by disabled people in public life. The Department is committed to complying fully with its statutory obligations under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and will screen all of its policies for equality and good relations impacts, and will conduct full equality impact assessments when appropriate.

DOE Business Plan 2015-2016 (PDF 2.2MB)Opens in a new window.

DOE Branches and Agencies