Minister of the Environment
4. A minimum separation distance of 15m is recommended between the wastewater unit and nearest habitable dwelling.
A small site I've looked at contains two septic tanks: one for its own dwelling and one for a neighbouring dwelling. The location of neither is marked on submitted drawings for a new extension and there is no reference to this discrepancy on Planning Service's Divisional Control Officer's report despite the fact that Planning Service is familiar with the associated problems. The current dwelling is within a few metres of one septic tank and I understand the position of the other septic tank does not correspond with earlier plans passed by Planning Service. Local government Building Control could pick up on these discrepancies at an an early stage but that's not part of its present remit.
5. A consent to discharge effluent must be obtained from Northern Ireland Environment Agency, as required by The Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999.
NIEA isn't on the Planning Service's list of consultees for this particular application despite Planning Service's awareness of ongoing issues associated with NIEA.
Planning Service has consulted with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board but, according to the Planning Service website, it has not yet submitted concerns raised by its DCO to NITB:
If the applicant can demonstrate that the ...... use does exceed 50 per cent then the existing tourism use at this site may have more weight, however this use would require planning permission or for the applicant to demonstrate that it has been established 5 years and therefore exempt from enforcement action.
These DCO comments also pose questions about the roles and actions of NITB** and local government Building Control officials.
Clarification is required as to the extent of the .... use.
Has such clarification been sought by Planning Service, NITB and/or Building Control? If not, surely the Minister needs to review the planning process in the best interests of all concerned parties.
** It would appear that NITB just requires 'a letter from your local council’s Environmental Health Officer is required in relation to food safety' but not one from Building Control in relation to personal safety.