Tyrone residents urged to help save the environment

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The head of Northern Ireland’s Environment Agency (NIEA) has called on County Tyrone residents to help save our endangered environment.

David Small warned that if we don’t take radical action now to protect the environment every aspect of it is threatened.

He has ignited a public debate on how we can enhance and protect our environment by launching a discussion document asking Co Tyrone residents to help draft Northern Ireland’s first ever Environment Strategy.

“Addressing climate change, becoming carbon neutral, tackling plastic pollution and achieving zero waste are essential measures to safeguard our environment,” he warned.

“People in Co Tyrone know better than most what an important natural asset our beautiful landscape is. But we can no longer afford to take clear air, good water quality and green and blues spaces for granted.

“Our precious environment is an essential part of our economy, supporting many of our industries, from food and farming to fishing, forestry, tourism and energy. It’s part of our global marketing strategies. It’s part of our DNA,” he said during the launch a public discussion on Northern Ireland’s first Environment Strategy.

“It’s now time-critical to protect this vital natural resource with ambitious, inspiring and targeted actions that keep it at the very heart of what we all do. There is no alternative than to act now, time is running out and standing still is not an option - there is no Planet B,” Mr Small, who is also Head of Environment, Marine and Fisheries within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), cautioned.

He urged everyone to take part as their feedback will help shape a future long-term strategy. “We want the public to help us identify the solutions to protect, preserve and enhance our environment and are very keen to ensure our plans accurately reflect what it is we all want to achieve for this and future generations,” he continued.

It is intended that the Environment Strategy will sit alongside other Executive strategies such as the sustainable development, economic and public health strategies.

DAERA will publish a summary of the findings before drafting the Environment Strategy for Northern Ireland in early 2020.

The public discussion is open for 14 weeks and will close on December 23.

You can take part online at https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera-neq/esni