There is a pressing need for an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help protect Northern Ireland in a post-Brexit world, Alliance East Antrim Assembly candidate Danny Donnelly has said.
Councillor Donnelly said the move, one of Alliance’s proposals in its forthcoming Assembly Election manifesto, would send a strong message to would-be polluters, particularly in the wake of no EU fines for offences.
Other environmental and rural asks by the party include prioritising a plan to eliminate plastic pollution, an afforestation programme to achieve the current target of 19 per cent tree cover by 2050, expanding the Environmental Farming Scheme and carbon audits to support farmers embrace environmentally beneficial practices.
“Northern Ireland has an amazing potential as a green economy, with the ability to showcase ourselves as a world leader on green issues,” said Councillor Donnelly.
“However, in the post-Brexit world, many of the environmental protections provided by the EU and backed with fines for those guilty of offences have been stripped away. We are already so far behind on environmental issues, being the only region of Europe without an EPA, and the chance is that will only get worse.
“An independent EPA – which remains an outstanding commitment from the New Decade, New Approach agreement – would not only act as a champion for our local environment but also send a strong message to those who would pollute it, while improving the quality of life for everyone in Northern Ireland.”