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Explanatory Memorandum to Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002

Key Features

35.The provisions of Part IV seek to establish provisions that will help to better safeguard, protect and manage ASSIs. This aim will be achieved by the following:

  • Placing a statutory requirement on the Department to provide owners and occupiers with a statement outlining its views on the management of the land for the purposes of conservation.

  • New ASSI declarations to be announced by public notice to invite as widespread representation as possible.

  • Powers of entry for officials to enter land for survey, monitoring and enforcement purposes subject to appropriate safeguards.

  • Powers to amend the existing boundaries or citation of an ASSI in addition to powers to de-notify all or part of an ASSI.

  • Powers to refuse consent for activities that would damage the “special interest” of an ASSI. This will be accompanied by an appeal mechanism.

  • Increased fines against owners and occupiers who cause or permit damaging operations without prior consent of the Department.

  • A new offence of intentional or reckless damage or disturbance to the special features of an ASSI.

  • Powers to make byelaws for the protection of an ASSI.

  • Payments to landowners for management of sites in accordance with the terms of a management agreement or in instances where an owner or occupier suffers loss arising from the withdrawal or modification of a consent.

  • Revised powers to allow for the compulsory acquisition of land where an ASSI is under threat from damage.

  • Introduction of Management Notices which will address cases of neglect or inappropriate management which threaten the conservation interest of an ASSI. This will be subject to an appeal mechanism.

  • A statutory duty on public bodies to further the conservation and enhancement of ASSIs.

36.The Department regards as essential the need to continue the partnership approach with owners and occupiers and will continue to foster good relations and co-operation at all times.

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