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Assembly Committee meets House of Lords EU Environment Sub Committee to discuss concerns around Internal Market Bill

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 06 October 2020

Reference: AERA 01/20/21

The Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee met the House of Lords EU Environment Sub Committee today (6 October) to discuss a range of issues in relation to the Internal Market Bill and the operation of the Protocol.

Both Committees have been communicating closely in recent weeks and today’s meeting was a further opportunity to focus attention on areas of mutual concern.

Speaking after the meeting, the Chairperson of the Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Declan McAleer MLA said: “We very much welcomed the opportunity to speak to members of the House of Lords EU Environment Sub Committee today.

The Internal Market Bill and the mechanisms around how the agreed protocol will operate will have a marked impact on our agri-foods sector, on our people and within both our rural and urban communities. It is important that we continue to have a voice on these issues and an opportunity to relay and underline some of our continuing concerns.”

Mr McAleer continued: “Our meeting centred upon the importance of ensuring unfettered access between here and GB, the need for a definition of qualifying goods and for frictionless access for freight lorries delivering food to supermarkets. We also noted that we would urge that positive dialogue on these issues continue at meetings of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.”

Mr McAleer concluded: “Our discussions today were productive, and we were heartened that the House of Lord’s Sub Committee understand and share many of our concerns, and that they have committed to working closely and proactively with us to ensure the best outcomes for our people.”  

Lord Teverson, chair of the House of Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee said:  “In July we voiced our concerns about the lack of meaningful Government engagement with agri-food businesses in Northern Ireland and urged ministers to start detailed discussions on proposals to implement the Protocol.

“It is vital, as our NI Assembly colleagues say, that the whole sector in Northern Ireland has a voice on the many complex issues at stake, to help to find effective solutions that will safeguard Northern Ireland’s unique trading position.”

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

  • The UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee was ratified by both the UK and EU in January 2020. It came into force following the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020. Further information on the work and remit of the committee can be found here.
  • Further information on the House of Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee can be accessedhere.
  • Today’s meeting was held virtually.

Committee Membership.

Mr Declan McAleer MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Philip McGuigan MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Ms Clare Bailey MLA
Mrs Rosemary Barton MLA
Mr John Blair MLA
Mr Maurice Bradley MLA
Mr Patsy McGlone MLA
Mr Harry Harvey MLA
Mr William Irwin MLA

For media enquiries, please contact:

Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Tel: 029 90 52 5938
Mob:  07899 864368
Email: Sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk 

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