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Royal Assent for legislation axing DoE in Northern Ireland

Words: Roger Milne

The legislation cutting the number of Stormont departments from 12 to nine – and in the process dissolving the Department of Environment and reassigning responsibility for key planning-related functions – received the Royal Assent this week.

The new departments with planning and built heritage responsibilities are:

  • Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

  • Infrastructure

  • Justice

  • Communities

The environmental functions transferring from DoE to DAERA will include regulation, but will exclude the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s built heritage function.

The Department for Infrastructure will assume the existing functions of the current Department for Regional Development (DRD) as well as strategic planning from DoE, plus oversight of the Rivers Agency and inland waterways.

The new Department of Justice will take on responsibility for the Planning Appeals Commission.

Meanwhile, the Department for Communities will cover the existing functions of the Department for Social Development and take on local government from DoE, including Built Heritage from the NI Environment Agency.

The new setup will come into force in May.

The stages of the bill can be viewed here.

Image credit | Shuttershock