Time is running out for Environment Improvement Plan publication, says Blair

Alliance Agriculture and Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA was speaking after a response from DAERA revealed that the publication of the long-awaited Environment Improvement Plan remains on hold due to Stormont’s collapse.

Environment John Blair

The South Antrim MLA said: “The Department has informed me that the decision they made in July to defer publication of the Environment Improvement Plan will not be reviewed until December. This plan is already long overdue, and we are seeing the increasing implications of this fact arise throughout Northern Ireland on a regular basis. The havoc and distress caused by extreme flooding just last week will be felt for some time and will, unfortunately, become our new reality.
“Furthermore, we can not forget that Lough Neagh, alongside other locations across Northern Ireland, are being threatened by blue-green algal blooms caused by the poor ecological condition of our waters due to climate change and pollution. As well as this, according to RSPB, we are one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth, with half of our protected areas in an unfavourable condition and 12% of our species facing extinction.
“Time is clearly running out; we are facing a climate and ecological crisis which will cause irreversible damage unless we act urgently. The Environment Improvement Plan could have been published to provide direction to combat our declining natural environment in July had the DUP not decided to collapse the Executive. We must restore the political institutions immediately, and this is yet another compelling reason to do so.”