The creation of a Green New Deal covering areas such as the environment, economy and infrastructure is vital if Northern Ireland is to recover from the pandemic, Alliance MLA John Blair has said.
Mr Blair was speaking ahead of an Assembly debate tomorrow (Monday) calling for the introduction of a Green New Deal by the Executive. Alliance launched its own proposals last month, looking at tackling not only the climate emergency but a range of issues to help bring economic and social transformation as we emerge from COVID-19.
Mr Blair said a similar version from the Executive was needed as we go forward.
“The past year has often felt like life is at a standstill but the challenges that faced us as a society before the pandemic remain and in many cases have increased in urgency,” said Mr Blair.
“That includes the mounting climate emergency, as well as the impact of Brexit and the continuing long-term inequality across our community. We need to ensure as we begin to emerge from the worst of the pandemic and we turn to planning our recovery, we grasp the chance for change presented to create a not only a greener but also a fairer economy.
“The Green New Deal looks at not only environmental policy but recognises tackling the climate emergency goes hand in hand with economic and social justice. By investing in a sustainable and fair economy that works for all of us, we can break down the barriers in our community.
“It is vital the Executive delivers a similar Green New Deal for Northern Ireland. Vital not just for our environment but for areas such as our economy, the health service, education and the infrastructure of our region. Well-being and inclusion must be at the centre of Government decision-making and a Northern Ireland Green New Deal would be just that – the catalyst for radical, positive change in this generation.”