The Northern Ireland Environmental Statistics Report has been published by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
This statistical report is produced annually and contains information on a range of environmental indicators in Northern Ireland.
The key points are:
Demographics and public opinion
- 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
- 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.
- Based on 2013 –2016 data, 11 of the 23 beaches (48%) monitored in Northern Ireland met the ‘excellent’ standard while nine beaches (39%) met the ‘good’ standard. Two beaches (9%) were classified as ‘sufficient’ and one as ‘poor’.
- Two out of nine designated shellfish water protected areas (SWPAs) complying with the Water Framework Directive guideline E.Coli standard in Shellfish Flesh in 2016.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bird populations are considered to be a good indicator of the broad state of the wildlife and the countryside. Between 1994 and 2015, the wild bird population has increased by 62%, however it should be noted that the underlying bird populations are not all increasing.
- Between 1994/95 and 2014/15 the total wetland bird population is estimated to have decreased by 22%.
- Listed buildings are those of special architectural or historic interest, and provide an indication of the extent of this historical architectural resource. There has been a modest increase in the number of buildings listed in recent years with a total of 8,774 statutory listings in 2015/16, compared with 8,191 in 2003/04.
- In Northern Ireland, the total amount of LAC municipal waste arisings has declined by 8.9% between 2006/07 and 2015/16.
- In 2015/16, 42.2% of household waste was sent for recycling (including reuse and composting) and 41.8% of LAC municipal waste was sent for recycling (including reuse and composting).