Thursday 28 May 2020
Green Party Leader Clare Bailey MLA has responded to the NI Environmental Statistics Report 2020 release.
Clare Bailey MLA said:
“It’s encouraging that an overwhelming majority of people stated that they are very or fairly concerned about our environment.
“People care about protecting our natural world and want to live healthier, happier lives. The report evidences this, with people recycling more household waste and citing climate change as their biggest environmental concern.
“The responsibility is on government, however, to drive the just transition towards a low carbon economy rather than rely on the actions of individuals.
“Unfortunately, the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is failing to deliver on its brief on a number of fronts.
“Northern Ireland is again a place apart as the only UK region without either an Environmental Improvement Plan or an Environment Bill.
“Also, we are without an Independent Environmental Protection Agency despite the Assembly calling for its creation on a cross party basis.
“Unsurprising then, our environment is suffering. The Mubuoy dump close to the River Faughan is often cited as the biggest illegal dump in Western Europe. Ammonia emissions and exhaust fumes give rise to some of the dirtiest air across these islands; and, repeated fish kills are devastating our rivers.
“The Environment Bill, proceeding through Westminster at present, singularly fails to acknowledge the picture here in Northern Ireland. We need a non regression and sunset clause included in the legislation to provide a buffer against some of its most serious flaws.
“Locally, our Executive must be brave and imaginative in the face of irreversible climate breakdown and ecological crisis. Covid-19 has prompted unprecedented policy interventions from government but it’s not enough to attempt to put us back to where we were before.
“The post-Covid recovery must be a green recovery, a positive course of action to help us pull back from economic and environmental meltdown.
“We know that our environment matters to people - it’s now time to put a green recovery at the heart of our policy making and deliver for people and place.”