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 Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 1:00 pm, 2nd March 2020

The Member anticipates the next stage, and I hope to be in a position within two or three weeks to be able to come back to the House and develop further aspects of the green economy that we look forward to utilising to ensure that we reduce our carbon footprint.

Northern Ireland has never benefited from oil, gas or coal, so I have no issue whatsoever with moving away from fossil fuels to a much greener economy. I believe that the opportunity exists for Northern Ireland to be a seller of green energy. We should be looking to get to the point of making such a contribution. The Member is right that the trees will help. We cannot remove all carbon, but, if we want to meet this challenge head-on, reducing carbon is the biggest element, and we will identify and move forward with a course of action over the coming weeks and months. There is work to be done there. I have talked to my Executive colleagues about it and am getting great support from them. As an Executive, we will need to embrace a greener economy and move forward together.