Northern Ireland legislation & regulation


This page outlines legislation relating to SuDS in Northern Ireland including:



The Strateguc Planning Policy Statement for Northern Ireland

The Strategic Planning Policy Statement for Northern Ireland (SPPS, 2015) produced by the Department of Environment sets out regional planning policies for securing the orderly and consistent development of land in Northern Ireland under the reformed two-tier planning system. The SPPS must be taken into account in the preparation of Local Development Plans, and are also material to all decisions on individual planning applications and appeals.

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Planning Policy Statement 15

In Northern Ireland, Planning Policy Statement 15 (PPS15) ‘Planning and Flood Risk’ sets out the Department of Environment’s planning policies to minimise flood risk to people, property and the environment. PPS15 embodies the Government’s commitment to sustainable development and the conservation of biodiversity. It adopts a precautionary approach to development and the use of land that takes account of climate change and is supportive to the wellbeing and safety of people.


PPS15 has a number of annexes – Annex C deals with SuDS. The annex recognises the importance of development changing the natural drainage regime, that downstream flooding may be increased from new development and that ecological damage to streams and streamside habitats may occur.


While the disposal of surface water has long been a material consideration in determining planning applications, amenity, ecology and water resource issues have historically had limited influence on drainage system design and the determination of development decisions. In addition, the water quality improvements required by the EC Water Framework Directive means that continuing to drain built up areas without taking these wider issues into consideration is no longer an option.


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The Water and Sewerage Services Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

The Water and Sewerage Services Act (2016) received Royal Assent and came into operation on 23 March 2016.  Section 4 of the Act extends the powers of NI Water to adopt sustainable drainage systems (as they define them) and to require construction of SuDS. Section 5 supports this by introducing restrictions on the right to connect new surface water sewers to the public network.


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