§ Mr. William Ross
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment is made, when planning permission is sought for any dump in Northern Ireland, of the possibility of leakage, leaching or run off from such a dump to any lake, river, stream or reservoir; by whom and under what legislative authority such assessments are made; whether the maintenance of water quality is taken into account in deciding whether planning permission is granted; and whether the term discharge is treated as encompassing any such leakage, leaching or run off.241W
§ Mr. Needham
[holding answer 15 March 1988]: Where planning permission is sought for any waste disposal site, the environmental protection division of the Department of the Environment (NI) is consulted. That division is concerned with the maintenance of water quality and the need for a consent under the Water Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 and its views are taken into account by the planning service before any such planning application is determined.
In considering the possible effect of such sites on water quality, the environmental protection division considers a number of factors to determine whether the proposed site is suitable or can be made suitable for the disposal of refuse. A hydrogeological report is now required by the Department of the Environment (NI) as empowered by section 9(1) of the Water Act to accompany any application for consent. Planning permission for a waste disposal site would not issue unless a consent under the Water Act had issued or was likely to issue. The term discharge is regarded as encompassing any leachate or surface run off water.