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Author Topic: NI wildlife plan 'needs rethink'  (Read 1618 times)


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NI wildlife plan 'needs rethink'
« on: October 26, 2009 »

Northern Ireland's strategy for protecting wildlife is not working and needs a complete rethink, an environmental group has said.

Habitats are still being lost despite a series of action plans, the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group (NIBG) said.

The evidence points to continuing loss of wildlife on land and at sea, the group added.

They warned that NI was likely to fail to meet the government target of stopping biodiversity loss by 2016.

The NIBG is made up of representatives from central and local government, businesses, and the voluntary sector to carry out research and produce recommendations on implementing biodiversity policies in Northern Ireland.

Dr Bob Brown, chairman of the group, said government departments were taking more action to address the issue.

But he said the present strategy did not reflect current pressures on wildlife.


"In Northern Ireland we have action plans, commitments, delivery groups, local action, priority lists of species and habitats and a multitude of other measures - in fact all the kit we need," he said.

"The real test is whether any of it is actually making a difference. Sadly, we have concluded that there is little sign of progress and a large number of species and several habitats are still in decline, with no indication that these trends will change."

Dr Brown said the heart of the problem was a lack of resources and lack of real delivery.

The group wants to see a complete revision of the strategy, taking into account climate change, agricultural subsidies and international commitments.


The RSPB have said they fear things could get worse with public spending cuts looming.

"There is a European commitment to halt biodiversity loss by 2010. Although the Northern Ireland government has delayed this target until 2016, the NIBG's analysis shows that only a redoubling of efforts will stop the rot", said Dr James Robinson, Director of the RSPB in Northern Ireland.

"Governments across the world are spending billions to dig us out of the current financial crisis, yet slashing the money spent protecting our environment and stopping the loss of our wildlife," said Dr Robinson.

Meanwhile, Alliance Leader David Ford has said that creating an Independent Environmental Protection Agency would be the best way to ensure joined-up thinking on green issues.

Mr Ford is on the Assembly Environment Committee.

"The best way to ensure that a strong approach to green issues can be taken is if we create an EPA, and that agency is totally independent of the government," he said.


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