Who is involved in managing the risk of flooding?

The Department for Infrastructure, through the DfI Rivers, is leading the delivery of the Floods Directive. This role is known as ‘competent authority’ and it is a legislative requirement that it is done with the co-operation of other government departments, agencies and stakeholders that have a flood risk management role.

Additional interested groups

A number of groups have been established to ensure that the relevant stakeholders inform and shape the Floods Directive process.

As the requirements of the Directive have been developed, a number of local forums have been established, similar to the Greater Belfast Strategic Flood Forum which was set up as a pilot study. The public have played an important role in the stages leading up to the completion of Flood Risk Management Plans and we will continue to promote the opportunities for people to get involved during the implementation those Plans.

We will also keep the public informed on the progress of implementation through the website.

Steering Group

The Steering Group comprises senior representatives from the key government stakeholders and provides strategic direction for the implementation of the Directive.

  • DARD (Chair)
  • DARD (Rivers Agency)
  • DETI
  • DSD
  • DOE Planning Policy
  • DOE Planning
  • DOE NI Environment Agency
  • DFP
  • DFP Lands and Property Services
  • DHSSPS
  • NI Water
  • DRD
  • DRD Water Policy Division
  • DRD Roads
  • OFMDFM

Flood Directive Steering Group - terms of reference

The European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (2007/60/EC), known as the Floods Directive, came into force on 26 November 2007.

The Floods Directive is designed to help Member States establish a framework for managing flood risk that is aimed at reducing the adverse consequences of flooding on human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. Work is currently under way to put in place the necessary subordinate legislation to transpose the Directive into Northern Ireland law by November 2009.

DfI Rivers is the designated authority with responsibility for the implementation of the Directive in Northern Ireland. However the successful implementation of the Directive will require effective cooperation, coordination and communication across a number of departments, agencies and a government company. In pursuance of this collective approach, DfI Rivers established the Floods Directive Steering Group comprising senior representatives from all of the key governmental stakeholders with an interest in this cross-cutting Directive; the Group provides the strategic direction for implementation of the Directive.

The main aims of the Steering Group are to:

  • consider and comment on the approach taken by the DfI Rivers' Floods Directive Implementation Group
  • ensure that there is a high-level commitment within all of the governmental stakeholders to provide the resources necessary to meet the requirements of the Directive
  • ensure the strategic co-ordination of all work required by governmental bodies in taking forward the Directive towards full implementation
  • facilitate the alignment of all government policies/programmes and the Directive
  • identify and make recommendations for the development of water and land-use policies that might affect flood risk and the management of flood risk

The Steering Group is chaired by the Deputy Secretary of DARD, or a substituting official, and it will meet three times yearly. The Steering Group in itself has no responsibility for the management of flood risk and has no specified role to communicate with the public or others in regard to flood risk.

Stakeholder Group

The Stakeholder Group comprises government representatives with responsibility for flood risk management, the environment, fisheries, planning and civil contingencies. Farming and insurance interests are also represented. It helps develop policies to deliver the Floods Directive and ensures compliance with the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive

  • DARD Rivers Agency (Chair)
  • DARD
  • Association of British Insurers
  • DCAL Inland Fisheries
  • DOE NI Environment Agency
  • DOE Planning and Environmental Policy
  • DRD Roads Service
  • DRD Water Policy
  • Freshwater Taskforce
  • Loughs Agency
  • Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association
  • Northern Ireland Local Government Association
  • Northern Ireland Water
  • OFMDFM Civil Contingencies Policy
  • Ports Authority
  • Ulster Farmers Union

Land-use and flood risk management workshop - 27 November 2012

Local Flood Forums

DfI Rivers has established three Local Flood Forums to help develop a better understanding of flood risk and how it can be pro-actively managed in the future.

The forums are made up of government departments, agencies, stakeholders and the public or their representatives and provide groups with an opportunity to participate in the preparation of flood risk management plans.

This level of local engagement allows officials to get a real sense of what it is like to experience flooding and this will assist in the drafting of measures to reduce the impact.

The forums cover the three river basin districts -

  • Neagh Bann
  • North Eastern
  • North Western

Map of the river basin district
Map of the river basin district

Cross border co-ordination

The North Western, Neagh Bann and Shannon* International River Basin Districts all share cross border catchment areas with the Republic of Ireland. We work closely with the Office of Public Works (OPW) to ensure that our plans and measures are properly coordinated and in no way negatively impact on one another.

Two cross border groups have been established and will meet regularly through the life of the Directive to ensure a consistent approach is adopted.

* Please note that the Shannon has been discounted from our study as the area within Northern Ireland is very small with no watercourses or flood history. It therefore has no areas of significant flood risk within Northern Ireland.

How do you get involved?

Engagement and communication is an important part of the Directive involving you - the public. There are stages when we want you to get involved in the process and seek your input and views.

There are other more technical elements which will not require public input and we work with the NI Stakeholder Group to undertake this work.

At all stages of the Directive, we have endeavoured to keep the public informed of the work and progress being made via this website. The media are informed of any relevant news relating to the Directive which the public should be made aware of.

Opportunities for public involvement are summarised below.

Legislative Stage  – creating local legislation

Draft legislation was put out to public consultation in August 2009 over an eight week consultation period. Local legislation is now in place:

The Water Environment (Floods Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 (legislation.gov.uk)

Stage 1 – identifying areas at significant risk

This is a largely technical stage which requires specialised computer modelling and mapping technology. Specialist staff in DfI Rivers completed this work with input from the NI Steering Group.

Stage 2 – flood risk and flood hazard maps

This is another technical stage requiring specialised computer modelling and mapping technology. Again, specialist staff in DfI Rivers undertook this stage of work and the public can view the results via this weblink:

Stage 3 – flood risk management plans

There have been a number of opportunities for public participation at this stage. The main channel for engagement with the public and local groups with an interest in the development of Flood Risk Management Plans has been through Local Flood Forums. We hosted a series of community information events where the public was able to learn more about the Directive, discuss proposals for their area and provide input and feedback to assist us in drafting the flood risk management plans.

A public consultation on the draft flood risk management plans took place between December 2014 and June 2015. Following the consultation, the Plans were updated and revised and final Plans published in December 2015.

Next Steps

  • Now that the first set of Plans are produced, they will be implemented over the 6 year Plan cycle. In-tandem with this, preparation for the second cycle of flood risk management planning will commence. There will be continuing public involvement in implementing the Plans and during the development of the 2nd cycle planning process.
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