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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Feb 2019 right left

    
01

Snowdrop Walks

Saturday 2nd February
The Argory Moy
Normal Admission

Woodland Management – Saintfield Estate

Sunday 3rd February
Saintfield Estate
N/A

04
05
06

Public Money for Public Goods – Benefits for farmers, rural communities and the environment

Thursday 7th February
Seamus Heaney Centre, 45 Main Street, Bellaghy BT45 8HT
Free

08
09
10
11
12

Tackling Food Waste: Protecting the Environment and Helping Society

Wednesday 13th February
De Vere Holborn Bars, 138–142 Holborn, London
See website for details

14
15

Nest Fest

Saturday 16th February
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission

Path & Hedge Maintenance

Sunday 17th February
Bog Meadows Nature Reserve, Belfast
N/A

18
19

CEDaR Recorders Days – Belfast

Wednesday 20th February
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Free

21

Dry Stone Walling

Friday 22nd February
Drumnaph Nature Reserve
Free (lunch provided)

Evening Social Event in Belfast

Saturday 23rd February
Belfast
N/A

24
25

Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS) Training (Therapeutic route)

Tuesday 26th February
Bradkeel Social Farm, Plumbridge, County Tyrone BT79 8BN 307
£240 inc VAT

27

Irish Conference 2019 Wading into Water: The Assessment and Management of our Aquatic Environment

Thursday 28th February
Radisson Blu, Athlone
CIEEM Member (Fellow, Full, Associate, Graduate) £125.00 CIEEM member (Qual or Retd) £75.00 CIEEM Student Member £30.00 Non Member Ticket £175.00 Student (not a CIEEM member) £50.00

BITC Charity Learning Network

Thursday 28th February
Arthur Cox, Victoria House, 15–17 Gloucester St, Belfast
£295 + VAT

  
 

The future of farming? 13 March 2018

Environmentally Friendly Agriculture Policy Proposed in England – but what about Northern Ireland? (via Nature Matters NI)

 

Farm

Photo by R Maxwell

The Nature Matters NI campaign make the case for a functioning NI Assembly to ensure the development of agriculture policy to benefit nature, farmers and people across the UK and argue that without this in place, farming risks being left behind in the devolved countries.

By John Martin

The UK Government has published its vision for agriculture policy post Brexit in a consultation document entitled ‘Health and Harmony – The future of farming, food and the environment in a green Brexit’. The point of the consultation is to gather stakeholder opinions ahead of the Agriculture Bill announced in the Queens Speech. The Defra Secretary of State, Michael Gove, has pledged to incentivise methods of farming that create new habitats for wildlife, increase biodiversity, reduce flood risk, help with climate change mitigation/adaptation and improve air quality.

There is much to support in the proposals for England including the promise to enshrine the principle of ‘public money for public goods’ within future subsidies.  However there is one glaring issue, the proposals won’t apply to Northern Ireland or other devolved administrations because agriculture is a devolved power. With no functioning Assembly since January 2017, the agriculture sector in Northern Ireland risks being left behind as policy and legislation is developed elsewhere. Without the Assembly, new policy or legislation can’t be developed, meaning there’s no clarity on the future of agriculture policy direction for Northern Ireland.

Working towards a common approach across the UK

The Nature Matters NI campaign, which is a coalition of eNGO’s in Northern Ireland, has been calling for a common framework for agriculture policy across the UK.

Our aim of wanting farming to be good for people and nature applies everywhere across the UK. We had previously laid out our vision for a Common Framework in our agriculture policy position paper which you can find here. We are pleased to see some elements of those asks within the Defra consultation such as the ‘management of our shared resources’ and proposals to ‘ensure compliance with international obligations’ which we support.  

This section also makes reference to the economic and social linkages with Northern Ireland and Ireland, as NI is the only place that shares a land border with the EU. It also notes the importance of the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement and its establishing treaty of North–South Cooperation, of which the UK committed to protecting in the Joint UK–EU Report in December 2017. Reading between the lines, this is essentially saying each devolved government is free to produce their own policy, with some elements of cooperation decided by the Joint Ministerial Council (UK Agriculture Ministers) that are still to be revealed.

As stated previously, agriculture is a devolved competency, therefore local policy and legislation will required to ensure the NI Assembly and associated departments have the appropriate legal powers to implement something meaningful in NI. However, with the current political impasse in the NI Executive, options need to be considered for developing legislation both with and without a functioning NI Assembly.

Follow @NatureMattersNI on Twitter to keep up to date with our campaign and help us secure the best future for our environment in Northern Ireland.