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Independent Environment Agency Report Findings Welcomed

Oct 18, 2004

The UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) has welcomed the findings of a consultation exercise in Northern Ireland, which has come out overwhelmingly in support of establishing an independent environment agency.

In research published last May, UKELA found that environmental protection in Northern Ireland required urgent reform.

UKELA is recommending a package of reforms to address a legacy of environmental failings. The UK already faces costly fines through the European courts for failing to enforce environmental legislation.

A coalition of voluntary organisations has been consulting on what form of regulation is needed in Northern Ireland and the majority of respondents are calling for an independent regulator to be established.

“The Government must now listen to people’s concerns in Northern Ireland”, said Andrew Wiseman, chair of UKELA. “An independent body would have the teeth and resources that are currently lacking. It would also act as an environmental champion, raising awareness about why raising environmental standards is good for business and the public. UKELA believes this should be a tailor-made body to fit the special circumstances in Northern Ireland. We urge the Government to make a commitment to look at this issue as a matter of urgency.”

Notes to the editors:

1. UKELA is the UK forum which aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. UKELA’s members are involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law in the UK and the European Union. It attracts both lawyers and non lawyers and has a broad membership.
2. The coalition of NGOs publishes its report, “Environmental Protection Consultation – Analysis of Responses” on October 19th and is meeting the Environment Minister, Angela Smith MP, at a later date to discuss how the findings can be supported by the Government.
Andrew Wiseman, UKELA chair: tel: 020 7423 8340; mobile 0797 6258664

Vicki Elcoate
UKELA Executive Officer
01306 501320

UK Environmental Law Association - Better law for the environment
Registered charity 299498; company registered in England number 2133283
Registered office: One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

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