We need clarity on the implementation of the ammonia strategy, says Blair, following news of investigation into DAERA

Alliance Agriculture and Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA has welcomed the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP)’s investigation into DAERA’s application of environmental law around ammonia guidance – the Operational Protocol.

Environment John Blair

The South Antrim MLA has said clarification is also needed around the progress of the draft ammonia strategy, the consultation for which was launched in January 2023.


“The Operational Protocol as it currently stands fails to hold Councils to account when processing planning applications, and I welcome the investigation into DAERA’s practices in this area” said Mr Blair.


“Planning applications that are likely to have a significant and negative impact on the environment need to be properly assessed, and combatting the climate crisis should be prioritised at every level of government. Failing to effectively take climate considerations into account when planning has and will continue to have dire consequences.


“DAERA should not need a reminder that ammonia levels are a critical issue, and the implementation of a more robust strategy is of the utmost urgency. I will be writing to the Department to seek clarification on their timeline for publishing and implementing the much-needed ammonia strategy, and will be closely following the development of the OEP’s investigation.


“This issue demonstrates yet another area where the lack of a functioning Executive creates an unacceptable state of affairs, where ministerial direction is direly needed but not being supplied. NI cannot be allowed to stagnate in terms of climate and environmental policy yet again, and robust action needs to be taken.”