Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots, has launched the draft Green Growth Strategy for Northern Ireland.

The overarching multi-decade strategy, which is led by his department, will set out the long-term vision and framework for tackling the climate crisis, by balancing climate action with the need for a clean, resilient environment and economy. 

The department has said that it has been developed by all ministers and government departments working together, in collaboration with external stakeholders from local government, the private sector, voluntary and community sectors and others.

Green Growth Strategy

Launching an eight-week consultation period on the strategy at Artemis Technologies in Lisburn, Minister Poots said: “We are facing a climate emergency and need to act, and act quickly.

"The NI Executive’s Green Growth Strategy sets out an ambitious vision, and a framework for delivery, with which all other NI government policies and strategies must align.

"It provides us with an important opportunity to embed 'green growth' principles into our decision making. This will ensure that new policies and programmes align with the need to address climate change, develop green jobs and improve our environment," he added.

The strategy will be delivered through a series of Climate Action Plans.

These will will set out the actions to meet sector-specific greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets, to deliver a cleaner environment rich in biodiversity; delivering a more efficient use of resources within a circular economy; and green jobs, according to the department.

The minister continued: “This strategy represents a significant step forward for Northern Ireland as we move from a high to a low emissions society and balance climate action with environmental and economic considerations.

"I believe that this 'green growth' approach is right for Northern Ireland and this strategy outlines the level of our ambition, the aspirations we have for society here and the commitments we are making.”

Minister Poots admitted that there are numerous challenges ahead such as addressing climate change; becoming carbon neutral; improving air quality; tackling plastic pollution; achieving zero waste; and the development of a circular economy.

"The next decade must be one of urgent action. This overarching strategy sets out our commitments, our vision and our principles for a greener, more sustainable society and through investment, innovation, research and development and working together we can protect our future," he added.

First Minister, Paul Givan, said: “Green growth means using the move from a high to a low greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions society to improve people’s quality of life through green jobs and a clean, resilient environment.

"That is exactly what we intend to do with the Green Growth Strategy. It will equip us to tackle the climate crisis in the right way and help us meet our targets by feeding into the UK’s goal of achieving net zero by 2050," he added.