Northern Ireland environmental statistics report

An annual compendium which reports on a range of environmental indicators and provides links to government strategies.

This report contains environmental indicators covering seven key themes: Public Attitudes, Climate Change, Air, Water and Marine, Biodiversity and Land, Waste and Historic Environment.

Water and Marine

Key points in this chapter:
• Of the twenty-five inshore coastal waterbodies delineated in Northern Ireland, 13 (52 per cent) have been assessed at good or better ecological condition.
• In 2021 soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) was measured at 93 surveillance rivers across Northern Ireland giving an average concentration of 0.071 mg/l of phosphorus per litre of water. This was 0.024 mg/l more than the lowest figure reported in this time series, 0.047 mg/l in 2012.
• Water pollution incidents are investigated by Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). In 2021 there were 1,893 incidents reported to NIEA or discovered by NIEA during inspections, of which 871 (46 per cent) were substantiated (confirmed) as having an impact on the water quality of the receiving waterway. Of these, 14 per cent were considered to be of High or Medium Severity.
• Five out of nine designated shellfish water protected areas (SWPAs) complied with the Water Framework Directive guideline E. Coli standard in Shellfish Flesh in 2021.

Long-term seasonal trend analysis shows that the monthly trends in average nitrate concentrations in rivers in Northern Ireland are predominantly decreasing or stable over the 28-year period, 1992-2019, which may be attributed to the measures implemented through the Nutrient Action Programme.

Farming (29 per cent), accounted for the largest proportion of substantiated pollution incidents investigated

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