Continued absence of Assembly and local ministers could see further damage done to our natural environment, warns Blair

Speaking after a meeting with the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) yesterday (Monday 12 June), Alliance Agriculture and Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA has welcomed the Office’s commitment to holding government agencies and other public bodies to account, but has warned that the absence of a minister and a devolved Assembly could endanger progress on environmental issues.

Environment John Blair

The South Antrim MLA said: “With the growing urgent demands we’re now facing in terms of, for example, fulfilling Climate Act obligations and restoring our natural environment, effective scrutiny of those responsible for overseeing this is more important than ever.


“Whilst it’s welcome that the OEP can scrutinise environmental improvement plans and environmental law, as well as advise and enforce, it also serves as a stark reminder of the ‘missing link’ in these structures right now and the potential damage that will be caused by the continued absence of a local minister and a devolved Assembly they’re accountable to.


“Ministerial leadership is urgently required to ensure the implementation of strategies designed to protect nature and address the climate challenges we’re facing.


“The DUP walking away from these crucial responsibilities creates a serious threat to our natural environment, precious habitats, and native species, as well as abandoning the duties attached to a Climate Act introduced by a DUP minister.


“Inaction is simply not an option here, and Alliance will continue to work with environmental agencies in their efforts to address these crises.”