Just Transition Commission: Update

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 Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:15, 22 April 2024

T1. Mr McGlone asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for an update on the proposals for the appointment of a just transition commission. (AQT 201/22-27)

Photo of Andrew Muir Andrew Muir Alliance

I thank the Member for his question. The just transition commission is a key element of the climate change legislation that was passed democratically by the House in 2022. I am keen to see it in place, and I hope to have it in place by the end of this year. A key aspect is funding. A just transition fund is meant to come alongside the commission. It will comprise a number of pots of funding that will be brought together under one umbrella. It is key that we have just transition funding for Northern Ireland, because it will allow us to work on and deliver climate change with people. It is key that we address that. I have engaged with the UK Government and with the Labour Party on its future fiscal policy, because tackling climate change is an opportunity for Northern Ireland if it is funded correctly.

Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party

Thank you for that, Minister. What proposals do you have for the just transition fund for agriculture, and what ask have you made for it?

Photo of Andrew Muir Andrew Muir Alliance

I thank the Member for his question. It forms a key part of the earmarked funding that we receive for agricultural support, alongside other measures that come together in relation to it. I have lobbied the UK Government strongly for future funding for Northern Ireland, and I have lobbied the Labour Party, in the event that it might form the next Government, because it is key that we are able to assist and enable our agricultural community to move forward. Climate change is a really big challenge for Northern Ireland, particularly for the agricultural sector, but, if we can give funding to tackling it, we can grasp opportunities and give sustainability to communities in Northern Ireland.