This Memorandum of Understanding, signed today in Belfast, sets out ways the two organisations can work together to secure Protected Places, Areas of Significant Archaeological Interest and Registered Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest. The agreement focuses on protecting these areas when NIE Networks is carrying out electricity network construction and maintenance.
Bob Sweeney, Network Construction Director at NIE Networks, said “We’re delighted to have agreed this enhanced way of working with Historic Environment Division. It’s a progressive and proactive step which will help us to build additional protection for archaeological sites and heritage into our work.
“At NIE Networks, we own the electricity networks across Northern Ireland and ensure a safe and reliable supply of electricity to around 870,000 homes and businesses. As archaeological remains are widespread in our countryside and urban areas, we sometimes need to work in protected sites and landscape areas. This agreement helps us to plan that work in accordance with agreed principles which afford an even greater protection of our historic sites than existing legislation.”
Iain Greenway Director of Historic Environment Division said, “This agreement with NIE Networks is the latest in a series of agreements made by HED where organisations commit to going beyond compliance in protecting our rich historic environment. HED and NIE Networks are already working closely together to ensure that NIE Networks works are planned to avoid archaeology, and on early intervention where this isn’t possible. NIE Networks has found operational benefits in this closer working; and HED is able to provide timely and informed advice to NIE Networks to support their vital work. This is therefore benefitting both organisations – and perhaps more importantly our collective heritage. We look forward to working with NIE Networks to build this shared approach further”