Agreement endorsed on
Development and Archaeological Matters
On April 20th 2011, Mr. John McMillen Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) along with members of the Construction Industry Group for Northern Ireland (CIGNI) endorsed their ‘Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Archaeological Matters’, an agreement between industry and regulators to enable the construction and quarry sectors to progress with their development activities whilst carrying out appropriate archaeological mitigation having regard to a set of principles and actions agreed by all parties.
The MOU has been jointly written by the NIEA and CIGNI members- the Construction Employers Federation (CEF) and the Quarry Products Association NI (QPANI). A significant number of archaeological excavations are undertaken annually, and a high number of these are sector development-led and developer-funded archaeological activity.
Caption: Endorsement of the MOU on Archaeological Matters between NIEA and QPANI . Pictured (L-R) Gordon Best (QPANI), Laverne Bell (QPANI), John McMillen (NIEA Chief Executive) and Paul Logue (NIEA Archaeologist).
“The MOU actually formalises the proactive working relationship that the industry has been building with NIEA over the past year, that is to consult early with the NIEA Built Heritage Directorate in pre-planning discussions, in surveys, throughout the design process of a development, during any archaeological mitigation and post-excavation work and the publication of any finds” stated Laverne Bell (QPANI) speaking on behalf of the NIEA-CIGNI Working Group.
“The construction and quarrying industry invests a lot of time and resources into such matters; this has to be done in an informed, balanced and cost effective manner to be sustainable. We also want any new valuable information being discovered appropriately publicised so everyone can benefit and learn more about the lives of our ancestors in Northern Ireland. That’s the ethos of our MOU”.
Supporting the commitment John Armstrong (CEF) says “the launch of this MOU is the culmination of over a year’s collaboration between CEF, QPANI and NIEA. We would recommend to all members of CEF and QPANI to adopt and observe the guidance contained in the MOU as it reflects best practice that allows development to progress while at the same time helping to preserve our archaeological heritage”.
Paul Logue (NIEA Archaeologist) added “Heritage is an important part of who we all are and where we come from. It is also an increasingly important part of the economy, attracting tourists from within our island and from abroad. We hope that this agreement will both safeguard heritage and allow us to help the construction and quarrying industries provide much needed investment and employment”.
The MOU creates a framework for the industry to progress its work programme, while addressing archaeological works in a structured manner sensitive to the need to protect archaeological sites and monuments.
The NIEA Chief Executive John McMillen said that “One of the primary aims of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency is to protect, conserve and promote the historic environment. Along side this we have made the achievement of Better Regulation and the fostering of good relationships with our customers a key goal. We believe that this new framework relationship with private sector industry will deliver better solutions for both the economy and heritage in Northern Ireland. We are looking for a win-win situation”.
For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:
Laverne Bell (QPANI) Tel: 028 9082 4078 Mob: 07747 563663
Email: Lbell@qpani.org Fax: 028 9082 5103
Notes to Editors:
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has a responsibility to protect and promote the natural environment and built heritage; and to aid in the planning and management of development in a sustainable way which is responsive to the needs of the community. The Built Heritage Directorate is the part of NIEA that is responsible for the recording, protection, conservation and promotion of the historic environment.
The Construction Industry Group for Northern Ireland (CIGNI) is a private sector body consisting of 4 groupings: Professional Bodies; Contractors; Specialist Sub-Contractors and Suppliers. CIGNI ensures that the Northern Ireland construction industry operates efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of modern society by promoting excellence in all aspects of the work of the industry. CIGNI will engage with NIEA through two groups:
- The Suppliers: The extractives industry is the supplier of construction aggregates and is represented by the Quarry Products Association NI (QPANI) promoting a sustainable aggregates industry and protecting QPANI members’ licence to operate.
- The Contractors: The Construction Employers Federation (CEF) is the certified employers association for the construction industry in Northern Ireland. Its role is to promote the interests of the Northern Ireland construction industry.