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The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

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River basin management plans: public participation

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27.—(1) The Department must, in respect of the production of an updated river basin management plan in accordance with regulation 26—

(a)not less than three years before the relevant date, publish a statement of—

(i)the steps and consultation measures the Department is to take in connection with the preparation of the updated plan; and

(ii)the dates by which those steps and measures are to be taken;

(b)not less than two years before the relevant date, publish a summary of the significant water management matters which the Department considers arise for consideration in relation to the river basin district or the part of each international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland; and

(c)not less than one year before the relevant date, publish a draft of the updated plan.

(2) The Department must co-ordinate with the relevant competent authority in the Republic of Ireland with the aim of producing a draft of the updated plan for the whole of each international river basin district.

(3) Where it appears to the Department that a draft update of a single plan for an international river basin district cannot be produced, the Department must publish a draft updated plan for the part of the international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland.

(4) The Department must publish any matter required by paragraph (1) in such manner as the Department considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing that matter to the attention of persons likely to be affected by it and, in particular, must—

(a)make copies of the statement, summary or draft updated plan accessible to the public free of charge through its website and its principal offices;

(b)publish a notice—

(i)stating the fact of publication;

(ii)specifying the arrangements made for making copies of the statement, summary or draft updated plan available for public inspection; and

(iii)stating that any person may make representations to the Department in relation to the statement, summary or draft updated plan;

(c)consult the persons referred to in paragraph (6);

(d)take such steps as it considers appropriate to provide opportunities for the general public and the persons and bodies referred to in paragraph (6) to participate in discussion and the exchange of information or views in relation to the preparation of the draft updated plan; and

(e)invite the public and the persons referred to in paragraph (6) to make representations in relation to the draft updated plan.

(5) A notice required by paragraph 4(b) must be published—

(a)in the Belfast Gazette; and

(b)at least once in each of two successive weeks in one or more newspapers circulating in the river basin district or the part of the international river basin district to which the plan relates.

(6) The persons to be consulted are—

(a)every water undertaker any part of whose area is within the river basin district or the part of the international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland;

(b)the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland;

(c)the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside;

(d)each district council any part of whose area is within the river basin district or the part of an international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland;

(e)the harbour authority for each harbour in the river basin district or the part of an international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland;

(f)the Department for Infrastructure;

(g)where any part of the river basin district or the part of each international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland contains a shellfish water protected area, the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland;

(h)such persons as appear to the Department in relation to the river basin district and the part of each international river basin district falling within Northern Ireland—

(i)to be representative of the interests of those carrying on any business which relies upon the water environment;

(ii)to have an interest in the protection of the water environment; or

(iii)to have an interest in the promotion of flood management; and

(i)such other persons as the Department considers appropriate.

(7) The Department must take into account any representations relating to the statement, summary or draft updated plan which are received by the Department within a period of six months beginning with the date of publication of the document or such longer period as the Department may allow.

(8) In this regulation—

(a)“harbour” and “harbour authority” have the meanings given by section 38 of the Harbours Act (Northern Ireland) 1970(1);

(b)“the relevant date”, means the date by which the Department is next required in accordance with regulation 28(4) to publish an updated plan

(1)

1970 c.1 (N.I)

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