Dumping of waste tops NI concerns

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Illegal dumping of waste is the biggest environmental concern for households in Northern Ireland, a new publication has revealed.

The Northern Ireland Environmental Statistics Report was published last week by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The report states that the level of public concern for the environment had been increasing, peaking in 2008/09 (at 82%) but has since fallen so that the levels in 2015/16 (68%) are lower than those in 2003/04 (76%). Illegal dumping of waste is the biggest environmental concern for households in Northern Ireland.

Air and climate

In 2015/16, 1,987 GWh of electricity in Northern Ireland was generated from indigenous renewable sources. This was equivalent to 25.5% of total electricity consumption in that period

Water

Industrial discharge quality has improved in recent years with compliance rates in 2015 of 75% and 95% for private sewage and trade effluent respectively.

Water pollution incidents are investigated by NIEA. In 2015 there were 1,745 incidents reported to NIEA or discovered by NIEA during inspections, of which 978 (56%) were substantiated (confirmed) as having an impact on the water quality of the receiving waterway. Of these 14% were considered to be of High or Medium Severity.

Land

Forests and woodlands provide important habitats, natural resources and diversity to landscapes. In 2016/17, 208 hectares of new woodland was created by private landowners supported under the Rural Development Programme. This is up from 54 hectares in 2015/16.

Biodiversity

Over 1,000 features on Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) have been assessed, with 64% of the features in favourable condition, down from 68% in 2015, and 33% of features in unfavourable condition, up from 30% in 2015.