Environmental Improvement Plan

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 22 April 2024.

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Photo of Nicola Brogan Nicola Brogan Sinn Féin 3:15, 22 April 2024

7. Miss Brogan asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for an update on the progress of a finalised environment strategy to be put forward as an environmental improvement plan. (AQO 315/22-27)

Photo of Andrew Muir Andrew Muir Alliance

I thank the Member for her question. I have had recent discussions with my Executive colleagues on the content of a draft environment strategy for Northern Ireland, otherwise known as an environmental improvement plan. I hope shortly to secure Executive agreement to the strategy, which is both ambitious and deliverable. Once agreement has been obtained — I hope that that will be very shortly — I will make a statement to the Assembly on a strategy that will be published as Northern Ireland's first environmental improvement plan and laid in the Assembly.

Photo of Nicola Brogan Nicola Brogan Sinn Féin

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire.

[Translation: I thank the Minister for his answer.]

Are there legally binding measures in the plan to reach the 30 by 30 target to which the previous AERA Minister committed?

Photo of Andrew Muir Andrew Muir Alliance

I do not want to unveil the strategy until it has been agreed by the Executive. It is a pathway to achieving many targets, including the one that the Member outlined. It is key that the Executive adopt the strategy soon so that we can set it out, because it is also an overarching strategy for how we deal with the issues associated with Lough Neagh. The catchment area for Lough Neagh is way beyond the bed and soil of the lough. We need to have a strategy and an action plan, and I hope that we can outline those soon.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

The time for tabled questions is up. We will move to topical questions.