Environment Committee Examines Impact Of Cuts To Agencies

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 19 January 2010

Reference: ENV 05/09/10

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Environment will be examining the impact of proposed Departmental funding cuts on local agencies.

The Committee is meeting at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on Thursday January 21 at 10am and will take evidence from the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency. The Agency will be answering questions on their financial plans and outlining the reasons for the planned cuts to funding for the Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees.

Chair of the Committee for the Environment, Dolores Kelly MLA said: “In the present financial climate, we are all aware that economic efficiencies must be made. However, it is the Committee’s job to ensure that budgets are not slashed on crucial initiatives.

“The Committee wants to hear details of the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency plans. Specifically, we want to ensure that any cuts do not undo the sterling work that environmental organisations have achieved to date. To this end, we will also be hearing from Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees to get a perspective on the effects that the withdrawal of funding will have.

“As a lough shore dweller myself I am fully aware of the outstanding beauty of Lough Neagh and also of its value as a source of tourist income and economic activity, as well as the stunning variety of plants and animals it provides homes for. The Committee is acutely aware that, as with all issues affecting our environment, small changes today can have a significant effect for generations to come. We are keen to safeguard our environmental future in the face of any cuts.”

The Committee for the Environment is charged with scrutinising the work of the Department and its agencies. Today’s meeting is central to its role of ensuring that the tasks and spending of the Department are in keeping with the environmental priorities in Northern Ireland.

ENDS

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