NI misses deadline for Environmental Improvement Plan

Northern Ireland missed the deadline to publish its first Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP), prompting criticism from conservationists (via BBC News)

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Publication of the plan is a statutory duty under the UK Environment Act.

Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) had proposed adopting its environment strategy as its first EIP.

That was because the strategy was signed off by a minister prior to the collapse of devolution last year.

The Office For Environmental Protection (OEP) said that it was “adequate and appropriate” as an EIP, with some improvements required.

The conservation charity, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds NI, said it believes Daera can and should have published the document as an EIP.

The charity’s head of policy and advocacy, John Martin, said the failure “undermined confidence” and delayed “the transformative change” needed in Northern Ireland.

“This missed deadline can only be seen as an abject failure to reflect the reality of the nature and climate emergency we are in.

“It is essential that our politicians and government departments act now, matching the severity of the issue with transformative action. We do not have time to waste.

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