The Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside was established in 1989 under the provisions of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Amendment)(Northern Ireland) Order 1989. Its statutory role is also covered by the provisions of The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002.
Council is made up of 16 members who cover a wide range of environmental expertise and experience throughout Northern Ireland. Its role as statutory advisor is to advise the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland on matters affecting nature conservation and the countryside. Council also offers advice relevant to its remit to other government departments such as DARD, DRD and DCAL and is represented on other groups and working parties. In practice much of the Council's advice is channelled through the Department's Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Planning Service and the Core DOE.