Who is involved in managing the risk of flooding?

The Department for Infrastructure is the competent authority for delivery of the Floods Directive. This is a legislative requirement that is carried out in co-operation with other government departments, agencies and stakeholders that have flood risk management responsibilities.

The Directive timeline is geared to a rolling cycle so its 3 key stages must be repeated on a cyclical basis (every 6 years) to ensure that flood risk is managed effectively and that it takes account of new information and changes in risk.

The successful implementation of the Floods Directive requires effective communication, cooperation and coordination across a number of government departments, agencies, councils and NI Water.

Floods Directive Interest groups

Flood Strategy Steering Group

Following completion of the 1st Cycle of Flood Risk Management Plans, published in December 2015, the Floods Directive Steering Group (FDSG) responsibilities were subsumed into the multi-agency Flood Strategy Steering Group (FSSG). This was because of the reduced need to provide strategic direction once the Plans were published and also because FSSG has similar organisational membership to that of FDSG.

FSSG is a multi-agency Group, established in March 2003 in response to the June 2002 flooding which affected mainly the Greater Belfast Area. While flood response remains a key element of this Group’s work, its role has evolved in considering wider strategic flooding issues and has expanded to include oversight of implementation of the Floods Directive.

The FSSG comprises membership from the following organisations:

  • Department for Infrastructure (DfI)  Rivers (Chair)
  • DfI Roads
  • NI  Water
  • DfI Water and Drainage Policy Division
  • DfI Core
  • DfI Strategic Planning
  • The Executive Office – Civil Contingencies Policy Branch
  • Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs 
  • NI Direct
  • Local Government  Civil Contingencies Regional Co-ordinator
  • Belfast City Council (BCC)
  • Police Service Northern Ireland
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

Floods Directive Technical Stakeholder Group

The Floods Directive Technical Stakeholder Group (FDTSG) was established in 2016 to plan, organise and progress work associated with the delivery of the 2nd Cycle of Flood Risk Management Plans. In addressing the various requirements of the Directive and associated flood risk management issues, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders will be encouraged, including government departments, local councils, statutory environmental bodies, NGOs, fishery interests, industry, utility providers and the general public.

The Group currently consists of representatives from:

  • DfI Water and Drainage Policy Division
  • DfI Rivers
  • DfI Roads
  • NI Water
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • DfI Living With Water Programme

Other Stakeholder representation or attendance at meetings will be sought as required.

Public involvement

Engagement and communication is an important part of the Directive. There are stages where the public needs to be involved in providing input and views to the process; this is particularly so during the 3rd stage – to produce the Flood Risk Management Plan.

At all stages of the Directive, we will endeavour to keep the public informed of the work and progress being made via the website.

Opportunities for public involvement include:

  • Consultation on the Timetable and Work Programme for the preparation of the Northern Ireland Flood Risk Management Plan 2021-2027 (open until June 2019)
  • Consultation on the Draft Flood Risk Management Plan (from December 2020)

In addition to these consultations a key source of communication and engagement will be through the Regional Community Resilience Group (RCRG) which was established in 2013, to bring together partner organisations under the joint chair of Local Government and DfI Rivers to develop and establish Community Resilience across Northern Ireland.

The vision of the RCRG is to develop a consistent approach to community engagement and development of Community Resilience activities, to help individuals and communities to be better prepared and more self-reliant during severe weather emergencies.

The Department considers that the Regional Community Resilience Group (RCRG) is an important forum for communication of Floods Directive work to and from members of the public and communities affected by flooding. RCRG has close contacts with communities which have the greatest risk of flooding and has a membership comprising a wide range of organisations who provide response to flooding. Following a successful pilot project involving 10 communities in 2014, the work of the RCRG has been rolled out into other areas. Presently the RCRG supports over 28 communities by developing community emergency plans and helping them to improve their overall preparedness.

More information on RCRG can be found via the link below:

Cross border co-ordination with the Republic of Ireland

The Floods Directive Regulations requires Northern Ireland to harmonise plans for the three cross-border IRBDs with competent authorities in the Republic of Ireland. This is essential to ensure that any flood mitigation measures proposed by Northern Ireland do not significantly increase the flood risk in the Republic of Ireland and vice versa. To facilitate cooperation and coordination, DfI and the Office of Public Works have established the following main points of contact:

  • Office of Public Works (OPW) / DfI Cross Border Implementation Group – staff at a senior level meeting to discuss flood risk management policy issues of mutual interest;
  • DfI / OPW Operations Group – established to discuss cross-border operational flood risk management issues of mutual interest; and
  • National Floods Directive Coordination Group – DfI have a position on this Steering Group which is expected to continue to operate during the 2nd cycle.

We consider that these three forums will be sufficient to maintain the necessary cooperation and coordination and enable resolution of any cross-border issues that may arise during the 2nd cycle of the Floods Directive.


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