Minister launches consultation on Environment Strategy for NI

Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots, has launched a consultation document on Northern Ireland’s first ever overarching Environment Strategy.

The minister made the announcement during his visit to the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The Environment Strategy will set out Northern Ireland’s environmental priorities for the coming decades, and will form part of the Stormont Executive’s Green Growth Delivery Framework.

It includes a mix of both existing and new environmental targets/objectives for THE Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and all Northern Ireland departments with a role in improving the environment.

Launching the consultation, Minister Poots said: “This Strategy will provide a coherent response to the global challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, which have been addressed at this important conference over the past two weeks.

Our environment affects every aspect of our existence – it is central to all life; what we do, what we eat, how we work, where we live and play, and is unquestionably our most precious asset.

“Northern Ireland faces a range of local environmental challenges, including habitat and species loss, agricultural greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions, climate change, waste management, the development of a circular economy, soil quality, air quality and waste crime,” he added.

Environment Strategy

The minister said that the UK withdrawal from the European Union (EU) provides new environmental opportunities and, as environmental degradation poses an increasing challenge to all parts of the world, there is a clear impetus for the first long-term, over-arching Environment Strategy for NI.

“Urgent action is required if we are to realistically respond to the challenges of climate change, the destruction of habitats, the loss of biodiversity and the impacts of pollution on land and at sea,” the minister continued.

Protecting and enhancing our environment also has an important role to play as we emerge into a post-Covid-19 world, and my officials have been working with key stakeholders, including other departments and external bodies, to develop a strategy that will help us deliver a better environment, which can provide great economic, social and health benefits for individuals and for society.”

The DAERA minister added that everyone has a responsibility in meeting these challenges and it is incumbent on everyone to protect and preserve the local environment.

The strategy is expected to form the basis for an effective set of interventions that would deliver real improvements in the quality of the environment.

The minister is urging the public to actively participate in the consultation which will remain open for comment until January 18, 2022.