Alex Easton MLA has today called for an Independent Environmental Agency for Northern Ireland to meet its climate targets.

Speaking today Alex Easton MLA said:

For a long time now I have had a burning sense that the natural world around us needs more protection from pollution. I have watched many disasters occurring in the Northern Ireland waterways and acts being committed against wildlife, and it’s time to put a foot down against this continued destruction, and call for a fully independent environment agency for Northern Ireland that will have the teeth to prevent this damage spiraling out of control. Some people will say this is a U-turn from me but that was in a former life were I was forced to take the whip and I am entitled to have my own opinion. As an Independent I can now act on my own and make my own decisions in the best interests of the people of North Down and beyond, but the reality is that I always believed an Independent Environmental Agency was the way to go to help Northern Ireland meets it targets but to also keep the other political party’s honest and not shirk their responsibility’s on these issues.”

There are real challenges ahead which include; Rising sea levels and increased rain fall can lead to flooding posing a challenge for homes and businesses. Biodiversity loss where changes in temperature and increased rainfall disrupt ecosystems and have negative consequences for agriculture, fisheries and farming. Health issues due to rising temperatures related to respiratory matters and heat stress with the additional complication of increased temperature leading to spread of disease. There are economic consequences and costs associated with addressing climate change which require local and Westminster response to prevent further cost at a later stage. Transitioning to a low carbon economy is a political challenge. All this contributes to the planning and development of a comprehensive strategy on the climate. We have a responsibility to lead and tackle the challenges ahead before it is irreversible.”