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Department of the Environment (DOE)

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

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DOE has responsibility for the protection of the aquatic environment through the regulation of water quality, and the conservation of freshwater, marine flora, fauna, and hydrological processes.  In performing this duty DOE is required to have regard to the needs of industry and agriculture, the protection of fisheries and the protection of public health.

We work closely with colleagues in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, particularly Water Management Unit and Natural Heritage who have responsibility for the implementation of legislation and for environmental monitoring. We also liaise closely with the Department of Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) in GB, and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

In addition to the above you will find further specific information on the NIEA Water homepage

Marlisco Litter Video Competition

“Congratulations to the team from the Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch who won first place in the 11-18 category in the UK heat of the Marlisco marine litter video competition for their film “Sea Quest". The competition is part of the European Union-funded scientific project MARLISCO which is led in the UK by Plymouth University. The project aims to raise societal awareness of the problems and potential solutions relating to the accumulation of marine litter.

Professor Richard Thompson, of the School of Marine Science and Engineering at the University, a world-renowned expert on marine litter and microplastics, said: “It was great to see so many youngsters getting involved in this competition – there were entries from all corners of the UK.

It is evident that these young filmmakers have a good grasp of the problems caused by marine litter, and more importantly they clearly identify some of the solutions to what has become a global environmental problem.”

Congratulations also to the team from Fourlanesend Community School, Cornwall who were winners of the under 11 competition and overall winners of the UK competition. They will represent the UK in Bremen, Germany for the European premiere in May.

All of the winning videos from across the 14 countries are being hosted on in a new window.

The competition is one of numerous activities funded by the three-year, €4.5 million EU-funded MARLISCO project.”

Marine Litter Strategy Published 4 July 2013

The Northern Ireland Marine Litter Strategy was published on 4 July 2013. The Strategy is a co-ordinated response which aims to reduce the levels of litter entering the sea and removing litter which is already there. The Strategy contains measures designed to change attitudes and behaviour towards littering. This will be done through education, adequate provision of bins, fining offenders and collecting data on the extent of the problem. Further details are available from our Marine Litter page.

A copy of the Strategy is available to download: Marine Litter Strategy (1.71KB) Opens in a new window.

Draft Northern Ireland Marine Position Paper - Consultation Closed

The consultation on the Draft Marine Position Paper has now closed and a summary of responses received by the Department is available via this link Marine Policy PageOpens in a new window.

Northern Ireland Marine Bill - Introduced to the Assembly

Action to protect the seas around Northern Ireland took another step forward when Environment Minister Alex Attwood introduced the Northern Ireland Marine Bill in the Assembly. on 21 February 2012

Information on the Marine Bill can be found here:Opens in a new window.

Marine Licensing Legislation - now in operation

The new marine licensing legislation applies from the 6th April 2011 to the Northern Ireland inshore region and will allow sensible and necessary development to go ahead but in a manner that minimises its adverse impacts on the environment, human health and users of the sea. The legislation team worked closely with their colleagues in the Marine Assessment and Licensing Team in NIEA to develop legislation which is practical and relevant.

For more information, please go to the Marine Licensing Page.Opens in a new window.

Marine Policy Statement - published 18th March 2011

The UK Marine Policy Statement is a joint venture with England, Scotland and Wales and provides the framework for preparing marine plans and taking decisions affecting the marine environment. It applies to all UK waters and sets out the general environmental, social and economic considerations that need to be taken into account in marine planning. This will contribute to the sustainable development in the UK marine area.

Further information can be found on the Marine Planning page.Opens in a new window.

Read the Marine Planning and Licensing Newletter August 2010

Further Information