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NIEA Better Regulation Programme

Last updated: 21 December 2012

Environmental legislation has brought about significant improvements in environmental standards and quality of life. To work well, regulation needs to be clear, targeted and proportionate to ensure the required standards can be more readily achieved.  

We are committed to delivering simple and effective regulation which will provide greater protection for the environment. We have embarked on an ambitious Better Regulation Programme (.PDF 745Kb)Opens in New window to modernise and simplify regulation for businesses through:

  • more accessible guidance
  • streamlined, risk-based permitting and inspections
  • consistent and proportionate enforcement

A Better Regulation Board has been set up to discuss regulatory issues and ways to improve the environmental compliance and performance of Northern Ireland’s businesses.

White Paper on Environmental Better Regulation

The Department of the Environment published an Environmental Better Regulation White Paper for consultation on 24 March 2011, with suggestions to help businesses further, reduce costs to the Department and also increase protection of the environment in Northern Ireland. Consultation closes Friday 30 September 2011.

NIEA Enforcement Policy (January 2011)

The revised policy (.PDF 166Kb)Opens in New window applies the strategic intent on enforcement across the whole of the NIEA. It outlines to staff, business and the general public the objectives of the Agency in dealing with breaches of legislation. It explains the principles NIEA will follow to ensure that these are applied in a consistent and proportionate way.

NIEA Compliance and Enforcement Reporting

NIEA’s first Compliance and Enforcement Report 2008-10 (PDF 2.35Mb)Opens in New window covering all aspects of environmental enforcement carried out across the organisation was published in 2011. The purpose of this report was to provide a high level summary and overall context for the Agency’s key enforcement activities for the period 2008-2010. Information was provided under the following headings:

  • Environmental crime
  • Protecting the water environment
  • Regulating large industry
  • Regulating waste
  • Protecting nature and the countryside
  • Protecting the historic environment

A summary update Compliance and Enforcement Summary Report 2010 - 2012 covering 2010-2012 is now available.

Useful Better Regulation Links

Better Regulation - Online Feedback Form

As part of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) drive to improve the regulatory environment for legitimate business throughout Northern Ireland, a web feedback formOpens in New window has been designed for businesses to comment on Northern Ireland regulations. You are encouraged to actively use this web feedback form for relevant NI regulations which, for whatever reason, causes you concern and Departmental officials will respond directly to these.

Simple guidance on regulations

NetRegs Logo Sept 2012

NIEA provides guidance to small and medium-sized businesses on environmental regulations through its NetRegs website and complementary guidance on

It is updated regularly and is managed through a partnership between ourselves and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)

Contact us

We invite comments on our approach from those we regulate and from our other stakeholders. This will help us adapt our approach and get better results.

Please email or call 028 9056 9443.