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Protecting and Preserving our Natural Environment for Future Generations is our Responsibility

The NI Executive’s draft Green Growth Strategy is a vital milestone in the fight against climate change, but we all must play our part to ensure a greener, cleaner environment for generations to come.

Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots, MLA made the comments as he presented the draft Strategy during an oral statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The over-arching multi-decade Green Growth Strategy, which is led by his Department, sets out the long-term vision and a solid framework for tackling the climate crisis by balancing climate action with the need for a clean, resilient environment and economy.  It has been developed by all Ministers and Government departments working together, in collaboration with external stakeholders, the private sector, voluntary and community sectors and others. 

Minister Poots said: “I am delighted that this Strategy has been agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive and it is something on which we can all work together for a better future for us and for generations to come. There is widespread recognition that by continuing to meet our consumption through traditional methods such as fossil fuels, we are having a damaging impact on our environment. Green Growth means using the move from a high to a low emissions society to improve people’s quality of life through green jobs and a clean, resilient environment and that is exactly what we intend to do with the Green Growth Strategy.”

The cross-cutting strategy will be delivered through a series of Action Plans, which will set out what needs to be done to meet sector-specific greenhouse gas emission targets; deliver a cleaner environment rich in biodiversity; more efficient use of resources within a circular economy; and green jobs. 

The Minister continued: “I believe that this can be the start of a green revolution, but it is something that starts with each one of us and we can all make a difference. Across all sectors, businesses, organisations and as individuals, we will have choices ahead of us where we must make the right decisions for the environment around us. We have already come a long way in terms of reducing our emissions in Northern Ireland but we can do more. We must create green jobs that develop a whole new skillset and workforce that have a positive impact on the planet, end our reliance on fossil fuels, find less harmful ways of heating our homes and businesses and fuelling our cars and provide opportunities through investment in innovation to help us advance new ways of working. This Strategy includes 10 commitments, which will set out how we balance climate action, clean environment and our economy and demonstrates how we as an Executive intend to approach these issues as part of our Covid recovery.”

Concluding, Minister Poots said: “Having attended the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last week, I can only reiterate that the Green Growth Strategy is the first step on our journey in Northern Ireland to addressing the Climate and Nature Emergencies. We must all act now to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss to secure our health and well-being, and deliver a truly green economy for Northern Ireland.  This decade must be a decade of urgent action, it will require significant long term investment from the public and private sector as we work together to adapt to our new and changing priorities. We must all work together to ensure the future of our planet for generations to come and I would encourage everyone to have their say on this important Strategy.”

ENDS

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