Review of Nutrient Action Programme in NI a ‘Matter of Urgency’ as Deadline Missed

Helen Venn, OEP Chief Regulatory Officer wrote to DAERA about the failure to meet the 11 October deadline for a review and public consultation of the Nutrient Action Programme (NAP).

She said: “In our view, it is imperative that progress is made on this issue as a matter of urgency.”

Ms Venn described the failure to review as a ‘cause for concern,’ not only because there is a legal requirement to complete it but also because of the pressing need to address the significant issues of nutrient pollution in Northern Ireland - as exemplified by the situation at Lough Neagh.

DAERA Permanent Secretary Katrina Godfrey previously told the OEP in a letter dated August 9 that it had not been possible to complete the four yearly NAP review because of the absence of government ministers.

Following this letter, and in advance of the 11 October NAP review deadline, the OEP’s Chief Regulatory Officer wrote to DAERA asking for more information on how this decision was reached.  

Ms Venn added: “Ambition and urgent action are needed to secure the protection and improvement of the environment, particularly in relation to water quality.”

This page was updated on 19, October 2023 with a response from DAERA and subsequently updated on 3, November 2023 with a response from the OEP to DAERA.

The latest update to this page was made on 1, December 2023 with a response from DAERA that also included a document that outlined a timetable of delivery for the NAP review and public consultation.

Ms Venn said of DAERA's outlined timetable: “In their latest correspondence DAERA has laid out a work programme to deliver the NAP review and public consultation, which is welcome progress, although we recognise the timescale for delivery has been extended. We have an active interest in this matter and will be continuing our engagement with DAERA to track how this work programme is progressing to keep the delay to a minimum.

“We have stressed from the outset that the time is used to deliver a meaningful NAP review and public consultation as they play a key part in the urgent action needed to secure the protection and improvement of water quality in Northern Ireland.”

Read the OEP letters and DAERA's responses by clicking on the blue buttons on this page.