The Northern Ireland Environment


Northern Irelandís air quality has shown some improvement in recent years, with most measures within national air quality standards. By 2007, greenhouse gas emissions had decreased by 13% on the 1990 levels. Climate records suggest that the average temperature in Northern Ireland has increased since the start of the 20th Century.
The majority (58%) of monitored river length are of at least a good chemical standard, although biological standards are lower (41%). Drinking water quality is at it's highest level recorded since 2004.
Only two beaches (out of 24 monitored) fail to meet the mandatory standards for bathing water quality.More than half of Northern Ireland's marine water bodies are classified as high or good in terms of their winter nutrient concentrations.

In the last 10 years, Northern Ireland's wild bird population has increased by 21%. However, the wetland bird population has decreased by 17% in the same period.

Since 2003, there has been a modest increase in the number of listed buildings, with a total of 8,350 buildings recorded in 2008/09. In 2008/09, there were 437 listed buildings and structures classified as being at risk.

The amount of municipal waste has remained fairly constant since 2004/05, with a significant increase in the proportion of that waste which is recycled or composted.

More information

Official statistical information on the environnment comes from the Department of the Environment Statistics Branch website which gives an overview of Northern Ireland environmental statistics.

Other key sources

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Northern Ireland Air Quality
European Environment Agency
National Statistics (Natural and Built Environment Theme)
Planning statistics

Detailed environmental small area statistics can also be obtained from the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service website by clicking here