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Explanatory Memorandum to Roads (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004

Background and Policy Objectives

3.Under Article 133 of the Roads (NI) Order 1993 the Department may be required to hold up to three public enquiries into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Direction Order/Designation Order (DO) and Vesting Order aspects of any particular road scheme proposal. While the Article does allow for the EIA and DO or DO and VO procedures to be taken concurrently this has not obviated the need for three separate enquiries to be held.

4.In England and Wales these procedures are contained in the Highways Act 1980 however under the provisions of this legislation Roads Service’s counterparts, the Highways Agency, may take all three strands of the procedures concurrently within a single enquiry process.

5.There are clear benefits in following the procedures used in England and Wales in terms of the time taken to progress schemes through the statutory procedures together with a reduction in administrative costs for both the Department and objectors. Consequently the Department intends to amend the current legislation accordingly.

6.The Department, in common with its counterparts in all member states, is required under EC directive to assess the environmental impact of any relevant road proposal, publish such assessment, give cognisance to any representations made in connection with the proposal and publish its decision before proceeding with any other aspect of the statutory procedures. The Department will ensure, by administrative means that this requirement is adhered to.

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