|Formed||Unknown (on or before 1 January 1974)|
|Dissolved||6 May 2016|
|Headquarters||Clarence Court, 10–18 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8GB|
|Employees||2,681 (September 2011)|
|Annual budget||£127.0 million (current) & £5.1 million (capital) for 2011–12|
The Department of the Environment (DOE or DOENI; Irish: An Roinn Comhshaoil; Ulster-Scots: Männystrie o tha Kintraside) was a devolved Northern Irish government department in the Northern Ireland Executive. The minister with overall responsibility for the department was the Minister for the Environment.
The DOE's overall aim was to "work in partnership" with the public, private and voluntary sectors to promote the "economic and social welfare of the community" through "promoting sustainable development and seeking to secure a better and safer environment for everyone".
The main policy responsibilities of the department were:
- the natural environment
- the built environment
- land use planning
- road safety
- regulation of drivers, vehicles and vehicle operators
- local government
The DOE's main counterparts in the United Kingdom Government were:
- the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra);
- the Department for Communities and Local Government;
- the Department for Transport;
- the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (on built heritage).
In the Irish Government, its main counterparts were:
- the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government; and
- the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
The Ministry of Home Affairs was established on the formation of Northern Ireland in June 1921 and was responsible for a range of non-economic domestic matters, including local government. A separate Ministry of Health and Local Government was formed in 1944 and was subsequently split in 1965, to create the Ministry of Development. An environment ministry existed in the 1974 Northern Ireland Executive and the ministry was known as the Department of the Environment under direct rule.
The DoE is still a phrase used in everyday language in Northern Ireland to describe the Roads Service, which was once run by the department but is currently an agency of the separate Department for Regional Development.
Following a referendum on the Belfast Agreement on 23 May 1998 and the granting of royal assent to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on 19 November 1998, a Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive were established by the United Kingdom Government under Prime Minister Tony Blair. The process was known as devolution and was set up to return devolved legislative powers to Northern Ireland. DoE was therefore one of the six direct rule Northern Ireland departments that continued in existence after devolution in December 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and The Departments (Northern Ireland) Order 1999.
A devolved minister first took office on 2 December 1999. Devolution was suspended for four periods, during which the department came under the responsibility of direct rule ministers from the Northern Ireland Office:
- between 12 February 2000 and 30 May 2000;
- on 11 August 2001;
- on 22 September 2001;
- between 15 October 2002 and 8 May 2007.
Since 8 May 2007, devolution has operated without interruption.
Ministers of the Environment
|Minister||Image||Party||Took office||Left office|
|Sam Foster||UUP||2 December 1999||11 February 2000|
|Sam Foster||UUP||30 May 2000||20 February 2002|
|Dermot Nesbitt||UUP||20 February 2002||14 October 2002|
|Arlene Foster||DUP||8 May 2007||9 June 2008|
|Sammy Wilson||DUP||9 June 2008||1 July 2009|
|Edwin Poots||DUP||1 July 2009||5 May 2011|
|Alex Attwood||SDLP||16 May 2011||16 July 2013|
|Mark H. Durkan||SDLP||16 July 2013||6 May 2016|
|Office and department abolished|
Direct rule ministers
During the periods of suspension, the following ministers of the Northern Ireland Office were responsible for the department:
- "Northern Ireland Quarterly Employment Survey Historical Data". Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Budget 2011–15" (PDF). Department of Finance and Personnel. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Annual Report 2003" (PDF) (in Irish). North/South Ministerial Council. Retrieved 3 March 2009. (page 30)
- Northern Ireland Budget 2011–15, page 80
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Northern Ireland Executive
- DOE: About us Archived 8 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Defra: About Defra Archived 23 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Communities and Local Government: About us
- Department for Transport: About us
- DCMS: Historic environment
- Environment, Community and Local Government: Mission Statement
- Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport: Roads Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Commencement) Order 2000
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2000
- Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2001
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2001
- Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
- Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2002
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2007
- Office suspended for 24 hours on 11 August 2001 and 22 September 2001
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