Afforestation Programme

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:00 pm on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Philip McGuigan Philip McGuigan Sinn Féin 1:00 pm, 2nd March 2020

I thank the Minister for presenting his statement today. It is a welcome announcement, given the fact that the North has only 8% of tree cover, and particularly when compared with 43% tree cover across the European Union. Something did need to happen, and I welcome the announcement. I am sure that its ambition will be widely welcomed, particularly the ambition to plant 18 million trees by 2030.

The statement refers to the Committee on Climate Change and its report from February 2019 on reducing emissions in the North. The Minister will be well aware that tree planting is only one aspect of the complex equation of dealing with climate change. He will be aware that 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the North come from the agriculture sector. Is his Department preparing an overarching response to the Committee on Climate Change report, and, if so, when will it be given?