'Decarbonisation of Road Transport in Northern Ireland': Committee Report

Part of Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:00 pm on 29th November 2021.

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Photo of Dolores Kelly Dolores Kelly Social Democratic and Labour Party 4:00 pm, 29th November 2021

No. I want to put a couple of things on record, and then I will see about giving way at the end.

On the SDLP's commitment to deal with the climate crisis, no one can fault our aspirations and actions at Westminster, in the Assembly and, indeed, in the work of Nichola Mallon, whether she is in charge of her portfolio or in looking beyond these shores at good practice elsewhere. Only today, she has been working closely with Minister Eamon Ryan on an all-Ireland rail network. Members are right to point out the deficits west of the Bann and how people there have been failed by the short-sighted closure of many of our railway networks. Nichola Mallon is picking up that challenge. Also this week, Colum Eastwood's Climate Change Bill is subject to debate and further progress at Westminster. We have supported other parties here, and, at some point in the new year, I hope to bring my nature restoration Bill to the Floor. It deals with measures to improve air quality, air pollution and the health of the nation and to restore nature and the environment in which we all live and have so valued over the last couple of years in the pandemic.

It is fair to acknowledge that the report can be a driver for change, and it should be seen as key to our partnership with the Minister and the wider Executive. We welcome the fact that the Minister and her Department will look closely at the recommendations and at what more we can do together. We know that Minister Mallon has put forward options for the decarbonisation of transport through the energy strategy. While that is not a matter for Minister Mallon, we want to know, as others have said, from the Economy Minister and the wider Executive where the energy strategy is. If we are to deliver the change that our society deserves, we need to work together and deliver not just for this generation but for future generations.