Stakeholders in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Water
The main stakeholder related to water assets in Northern Ireland is NI Water. NI water became a standalone government-owned company in 2007 when it separated from the former Department for Regional Development - where it had been known as the Northern Ireland Water Service. The company now sits as an Agency within the Department of Infrastructure (DfI). The company provides 570 million litres of clean water a day for almost 1.8 million people as well as treating 340 million litres wastewater every day, and has approximately 1,400 staff. It is responsible for 26,800 km of watermains and 15,800 km of sewerage mains, as well as 23 water treatment works and 1,030 wastewater treatment works. In 2016/17 Northern Ireland Water invested £620 million in Northern Ireland’s water and sewerage infrastructure.
Department for Infrastructure
Department for Infrastructre is the agency in which NI Water sits. The department is responsible for a wide range of other areas also including Inland Waterways, roads, public transport, ports, rivers and flooding and planning. All of these areas are potentially important when looking at carrying out work related to the RECENT project, with particular focus on those linked to water and also planning.
DfI is responsible for Rivers and flooding; reducing the risk to life and damage to property from flooding from rivers and the sea, undertaking watercourse and coastal flood management in a sustainable manner. Northern Ireland's ports; as an island nation, and an open trading economy, Northern Ireland has always been dependent on the sea for trade and the sea ports as gateways to that trade.Water and sewerage systems; policy in relation to the water and sewerage industry and for discharging the Department’s statutory and other duties
NI Planning and Local Councils
Up until recent times, planning services in Northern Ireland were centralised with decisions being made by the central government based NI Planning Service. In April 2015, however, under the reform of councils within Northern Ireland several councils were merged and powers deveolved from central government to these new "super-councils". One of the matters devolved was that of planning powers. The main impact of this is that in the main planning applications are submitted to the local authority for planning permission decisions. However there are certain exceptions; for example large infrastructure projects may require special permission to be granted by central government. Central planning still maintains powers in developing planning policy statements and general area planning. The council is responsible for interpreting this policy in a local context to decide on each individual application.
Planning can be a particularly contentious area when it comes to certain kinds of development and certain renewable technologies are renowned for being more contentious than others so the role of the planning departments in developing projects can be hugelt influential and is important to understand and consider in the early stages of a project.