Several local councils across NI have issued enforcement notices for the removal of agricultural buildings over the past 12 months.
The Irish Farmers Journal asked all 11 councils in NI to outline how many notices they have recently issued for farm sheds that breached planning permission rules.
Of the local authorities that responded, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council had the most cases related to farming.
“The Council has issued nine enforcement notices in the past 12 months, which have required the removal of agricultural buildings,” a spokesperson said.
Derry and Strabane District Council have commenced four enforcement investigations into unauthorised farm sheds within the past year. Three complaints alleging unauthorised agricultural buildings are currently under consideration by Ards and North Down Borough Council.
Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council confirmed that two enforcement cases relating to the removal of agricultural sheds occurred during the past 12 months.
Two local councils in NI, namely Mid Ulster and Causeway Coast and Glens, said there had been no cases requiring the demolition of farm buildings in the last year.
The Irish Farmers Journal received no response from the remaining five local councils in NI.
All proposed farm sheds that are over 150 square metres in size must go through the planning process, as they are not eligible for permitted development status.
However, a growing issue with planning in recent years has been smaller livestock buildings under the 150 square metres threshold. Some of these sheds still require planning approval due to potential ammonia emissions.
This is most common in areas close to environmentally designated sites, as ammonia from livestock manure can damage sensitive habitats, such as bogs and woodlands.
Since June 2023, the entire process of approving any new farm sheds in NI that require either planning permission, or an ammonia assessment, has been at a standstill.
This is because guidance on air pollution from agricultural buildings is currently being reviewed by DAERA.
New guidance cannot be finalised, and, therefore, the planning process cannot re-start, until a minister is in place at DAERA.