Did you mean Edwin roots?
Roy Beggs: I now call the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots, to respond to the debate.
Edwin Poots: I can assure you that there is no heel-dragging taking place in my Department. We are working on actions, as opposed to Acts. Actions actually deliver things; Acts put a form of words in place. Action speaks louder than words, always.
Edwin Poots: Absolutely. I have asked Veterinary Service to get in contact with the owner. It is an absolutely awful thing to have happened. I hope that it will be able to ensure that it can give qualitative advice and support to the individual on animal welfare and all of that.
Edwin Poots: Absolutely. It is horrific, first of all, for the animals, and it will be horrific for the owner of the property. Representatives from that area have been in touch with me, and, as I indicated, our veterinary service will work appropriately to provide the support that it can for that place.
Edwin Poots: I am aware of that, and, being legal matters, those things will be tricky. I will want to have full assurances on those matters and to know that we are fully compliant with the law in how we conduct ourselves.
Edwin Poots: My Department is developing a comprehensive strategy to address the ammonia challenge. The draft strategy will propose a series of farm measures to reduce ammonia, conservation actions to improve the condition of habitats, and a revised operational protocol for the assessment of air pollution effects. We intend to publish these proposals for consultation soon.
Edwin Poots: I beg to move That this Assembly endorses the principle of the extension to Northern Ireland of the Fisheries Bill, as introduced in the House of Lords on 29 January 2020, and consents to the Fisheries Bill being taken forward by the Westminster Parliament.
Alex Maskey: I call on the Minister Edwin Poots to conclude and give a winding-up speech on the motion.
Edwin Poots: It is not what I would recommend, but I have been in America and I assume that I probably ate chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, as has anybody who has been in the United States of America.
Edwin Poots: The funding that you refer to will be replacement funding directly from the UK Government. That will be the source of future funding for rural communities.
Edwin Poots: Some support has been offered, but I understand that the farmers believe that something more significant is needed. We need to bring those deliberations to a conclusion one way or the other.
Edwin Poots: I am not sure whether you have informed local councils that you intend to take powers away from them and whether your local councillors will accept that. If the SDLP wishes to accept that as its policy, I will be happy to hear about it in due course.
Edwin Poots: I have sought those commitments verbally and in writing, and I raised them yesterday with George Eustice at the inter-ministerial group (IMG) meeting. We will continue to argue to ensure that Northern Ireland's envelope remains the same as it has been.
Edwin Poots: I am glad to say that the people who will check at the points of entry are vets and environmental health officers from Northern Ireland who are provided by our Department and by local authorities.
Edwin Poots: The answer to that question is quite clear. If you establish an anaerobic digester prior to having planning permission, you will not get your waste management licence. If you get your planning permission retrospectively, you can apply for your waste management licence.
Edwin Poots: I believe that we have permissions back on two sites and will have the third one back this week. As soon as they receive that, I have instructed officials to make them available to any Member who may wish to have them.
Edwin Poots: We had to take legal advice on the distribution of funding. That advice has been received, and we are now in a position to move forward. I hope that, over the next number of weeks, we will be able to indicate to the fishermen on the ground what is available to them.
Edwin Poots: I beg to move That the draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 be approved.
Edwin Poots: There has been a rollover of funding by the UK Government. Therefore, the funding that is currently in place for the environmental sector continues to be in place as we go forward.
Edwin Poots: As I indicated, because of the brucellosis-free status that we have achieved, staff have been freed up, and organisation can take place in the veterinary division in order to ensure that we will reduce the number of people who need to be recruited as a consequence.