Dear Minister Attwood,

Welcome once again to Down District Council, and wishing you well with your ongoing work as Minister of the Environment.

When we met two years ago in Stormont, I raised with you to the 4 years of delays in implementing bye-laws for Tyrella Beach, Minerstown and the Newcastle Promenade and Seashore by your local Government Division.

You were surprised that this was still an issue then – hopefully you will be even more surprised now and will issue instructions for them to end their delaying tactics in these matters

I would like to alert you to three serious errors in the process that the Department takes to enabling bye-law to be implemented by Councils around NI that differs from other jurisdictions;

  1. Bye-laws are not regarded as routine – each one spawns days and months of expensive legal advice – which in our case has now reached its sixth year.
  2. In other jurisdictions standard bye-laws can be down-loaded by a local authority and amended with names and appended with maps as appropriate and sent for consultation – it is not a complicated process.
  3. In other jurisdictions bye-laws summarise what you can and cannot do (for instance) on a specific beach) and the regulations are clear to both the public and to the Council, Department and Police personnel implementing them.  In your Department the officials have wasted months and years pouring though bog-standard bye-laws and taken out any reference to any item that is covered by another law no matter how obscure – leaving the scope of enablements and prohibitions unclear. If they need to waste their time in this manner, they should simply use their time to append the appropriate laws that also support the bye-laws in dealing comprehensively with all relevant matters in a clear manner at that location.

I hope you will find that my comments are constructive and appreciate that they are aimed at better customer service by the Department, value for money from your officials, and ultimately giving councils the ability to turn around a bye-law for consultation in weeks or months rather than years.


Yours sincerely,

Cllr Cadogan Enright