Executive delaying on Environmental Improvement Plan unacceptable, says Blair

Alliance Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs spokesperson John Blair MLA has said it’s unacceptable that the publication of an Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) is being subject to yet more Executive delay.

Environment John Blair

It comes following Question Time in the Assembly on Monday (13 May), where Alliance DAERA Minister Andrew Muir described how he has been liaising with Executive colleagues trying to secure the publication of the EIP since March this year, but as yet has not been able to.

The South Antrim MLA has said: “As a result of two years of stalemate while Stormont was collapsed, we have missed many deadlines to publish urgently required, robust environmental and biodiversity strategies, such as the Environmental Improvement Plan. For the sake of our natural environment and its preservation, we cannot wait a minute longer to move forward and see this done.

“The publication of the EIP is an essential factor in addressing the crisis we are continuing to face at Lough Neagh. We are already hearing reports of blue-green algal blooms emerging. Whilst there is no quick fix to the biodiversity and ecological breakdown in Lough Neagh, a published EIP with cross-party support is a crucial stepping stone.

We know that the Minister is keen to secure Executive agreement on this plan, and I hope this can be commenced as soon as possible. The survival of our waterways, as well as the species that inhabit them, depends on it."