McGlone calls for delivery on promise to protect Lough Neagh

Patsy McGlone Lough Neagh

SDLP Opposition AERA Spokesperson Patsy McGlone has called on Executive parties to deliver on their promise to safeguard Lough Neagh.

He was speaking after the Assembly backed an SDLP Opposition motion to recognise the crisis at the Lough and call on the AERA Minister to bring forward legislation to establish an independent Environmental Protection Agency by the end of the Assembly mandate.

Mid Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said:

“In the past few days with the spell of hot weather we are already seeing signs of the re-emergence of the toxic algae blooms which wreaked such havoc over the past year, killing wildlife, destroying biodiversity and impacting local businesses. The reasons for the ecological crisis at the Lough are well-worn, but it is deeply disappointing that we stand here again on the brink of another summer where little has been done to address these issues.

“Parties have been clear on the need to act to protect the long-term future of the Lough. One of the AERA Minister’s first visits after assuming office was to the Lough, but we need action if we are going to save this precious resource. Protecting our environment should be a priority for every department and there needs to be ownership of this issue from the entire Executive.

“The SDLP has been calling for an independent Environmental Protection Agency for well over a decade and it was agreed as part of New Decade, New Approach. What we have been doing up until this point clearly isn’t working and it is our view that an independent body will give us the best chance of safeguarding our natural resources like Lough Neagh.”

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