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Explanatory Memorandum to Drainage (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

Power of Department to Charge for Exercise of Functions

13.The Department does not currently have legislative authority to charge for most of the work it does under the Drainage (Northern Ireland) Order 1973.

14.The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) report dated 8 June 2004 entitled “Recoupment of Drainage Infrastructure Costs” recommended that the Agency seek an amendment to the Drainage Order to include provision for a freestanding power to charge.

15.The NIAO report specifically deals with the issues of developers benefiting from infrastructure works undertaken by the Agency at public expense. The amendment to the Drainage Order enables the Department to address this matter by introducing charging by means of subordinate legislation subject to negative resolution in the Assembly. It also enables the Department to make regulations to charge for other functions.

16.It is envisaged that the subordinate legislation, which will be subject to public consultation, will also provide the detail of charging levels, sanctions, recovery procedure and administrative financial procedures required for the associated collection and accounting of any monies arising from charges.

17.The subordinate legislation on obtaining contributions from developers will be formulated in the light of an ongoing study of methodologies for such charging, and impact appraisal of charges.

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