Environment Committee says Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill must have greater impact

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 16 April 2010

Reference: ENV 08/09/10

The Assembly Committee for the Environment, led by its new Chair Cathal Boylan, MLA, today finalised its report to the Department of Environment on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. The Committee report recommends that the wording of the Bill be much stronger and require public bodies to ‘maintain and protect’ the environment rather than just conserve it.

Last month the Committee announced its decision to recommend a total ban on use of all snares as part of its report.

Cathal Boylan MLA, said today: “The Committee has received many briefings and taken evidence from a wide range of stakeholders. This has led us to form the view that some of the measures in the Department’s draft Bill do not go far enough.

“In our report we have identified areas where the Committee believes the Department needs to take greater responsibility. For example producing guidance to local authorities on their responsibilities to protect biodiversity; and that it should report on its implementation of the biodiversity strategy at least every five years, rather than ‘from time to time’ as proposed.

“ We urge the Department to accept these recommendations and amend the Bill accordingly. It is the Committee’s view that by further strengthening the Bill we will be better placed to protect our wildlife and environment for generations to come.”

The Committee’s report will now be submitted to the Department and the Committee will lodge any amendments it wants included in the Bill when the Department brings it back to the Assembly for consideration by all MLAs. The Committee’s report will be available on the website, or on request from the Committee Clerk, from 20 April 2010.

Ends

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