Online consent service launched

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The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has launched a new online service for operations and activities requiring consent in Areas of Special Scientific Interest.

NIEA, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, says the new service will make consent applications more convenient, efficient and straightforward.

Head of the NIEA David Small explained: “Our Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) are a unique and vital part of the natural landscape. This is why they enjoy special protections.

“A key part of NIEA’s role is stewardship of the landscape. Every one of us has a stake in our environment and NIEA want to continue working in collaboration with landowners, farmers and other organisations. This new service is launched in the spirit of partnership and NIEA designate ASSIs due to their special changing of grazing patterns, felling trees or digging of ditches.

Mr Small said: “This online service is a positive step towards simplifying the process for the applicant, make the process more accessible whilst improving compliance and protecting our special natural heritage.”

NIEA’s Natural Environment map viewer, whereby applicants can easily generate maps, ‘redline’ the area where activity will be carried out and attach it to the application form.

This service will be available from December 18 2017.