Poots calls for final responses to environment strategy

Northern Ireland’s environment minister, Edwin Poots, has called on the public to respond to the consultation on the country’s environment strategy, which closes at midnight today (18 January).

DAERA is a government department in the Northern Ireland Executive, the devolved administration for Northern Ireland based at Stormont (picture: Shutterstock)

Launched at the COP26 climate summit in November, the consultation on Northern Ireland’s “first ever” strategy includes a mix of existing and new environmental targets and objectives.

This includes several targets pertaining to waste. The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) says it will publish a new Waste Management Strategy by 2023, introduce an extended producer responsibility scheme for packaging in 2023 in line with the rest of the UK, and introduce a deposit return scheme for drink containers in 2024/25.

It targets bringing forward all the actions set out in its Waste Prevention Plan in 2019, introducing legislation to reduce the consumption of single use plastic items, and sending no more than 10% of waste to landfill by 2035.

The strategy also outlines the government’s aims to increase the recycling of packaging from 60% to 78% by 2030.

Climate change

“It is of great importance that everyone with an interest in the environment strategy gets their views in before the deadline,” Mr Poots said.

“The environment strategy will underpin all our efforts against climate change and help ensure a bright future for the next generation.”

Mr Poots said DAERA intends to publish the final strategy by early spring 2022.

Circular economy

In the draft strategy, DAERA targets developing a circular economy in Northern Ireland. It says it will publish a ‘NI Circularity Gap Report’ in 2021 and a Circular Economy Strategic Framework by 2022.

Edwin Poots has been Northern Ireland’s environment minister since January 2020 (picture: DAERA)

DAERA says it will appoint members “representing a diverse range of industries, sectors and interest” to a NI Circular Economy Coalition and work with “enablers” in the digital, education, media, central and local government, and procurement sectors to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

And, DAERA says there will be a NI Civil Service policy review to identify and embed circular practices in current and planned policy.

Fly-tipping

The draft strategy also contains targets relating to fly-tipping. DAERA says it will secure the agreement of all 11 Northern Irish councils to a ‘Fly-tipping Protocol’ demarcating the roles and responsibilities of each local authority.

Seven councils have already committed to the protocol, the strategy says. DAERA says it remains in discussion with the other four. The strategy says DAERA and the councils will review the protocol annually.

The strategy also sets targets for the development of a consistent approach to data collection regarding fly-tipping and illegal waste disposal across Northern Ireland, including through exploring a fly-tipping app.

Related link
Environment Strategy Consultation


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