Environment minister Andrew Muir says UK Government needs to 'step up' on climate funding for Northern Ireland

DAERA minister, Alliance Party MLA Andrew Muir
DAERA minister, Alliance Party MLA Andrew Muir -Credit:Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Northern Ireland's Environment Minister says the UK Government needs to "step up" and help Stormont invest in the future after £28m in bids for climate finance were rejected by Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald. Green Party NI senator, Mal O'Hara, has labelled the Executive 'climate chancers' after news of the rejections emerged.

But DAERA Minister, Andrew Muir, says the UK has a "big role to play" in terms of funding for Northern Ireland.

He told us: "There's a major issue here. The UK government need to step up and allow us to meet these investments for the future. That's a discussion really around their fiscal rules but we need to be investing for the future, net zero and making sure our infrastructure is fit for purpose. There's big role to play from the UK Government on this."

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The Newsletter reported how Sinn Fein's Minister Archibald rejected the climate funding requested by ministers despite the party's involvement in delivering the Climate Change Act, which is estimated to cost £2.3 billion up to 2027.

Minister Muir added: "I will continue to put bids in and the next thing is June monitoring. I think it's important that the bids that are going in are structured but also we are meeting our obligations under law to make these changes.

"There are various things different departments can do around this with things that are relevant to people like insulation on homes."

Green Party politician, Mal O'Hara, said: "Executive Ministers put in bids totalling only £28m when hundreds of millions are required to address the environmental mess that these executive parties have presided over.

"Many of their supporters who care about the climate and biodiversity crises will be devastated by this lack of ambition, and Sinn Fein’s blocking of funding.

"Northern Ireland is the twelfth worst place in the world for species loss," he added. "We emit the highest per capita emissions on these islands. Zero of our 495 rivers, lakes, and coastal plains meet a good standard. We have the largest illegal dump in Western Europe with no investigation into how it happened, despite the assembly agreeing to a Green proposal calling for a public enquiry.

"Northern Ireland’s environmental record is shameful. Is it any wonder with these climate chancers in charge?"

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