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Durkan consults on setting up an independent environmental agency

Words: Roger Milne

Environment minister Mark H Durkan has started consulting on the options for an independent environmental protection agency.

The minister has pointed out that following restructuring of government next May his department will no longer exist, and its functions will be transferred across a number of others.

He insisted: “The restructuring of government departments next May creates an opportunity to put the appropriate structures in place to ensure our environment gets the level of protection it deserves".

Durkan added: “Most jurisdictions on these islands and Europe have some form of independent environment body. They have successfully demonstrated the advantages of a clear separation of roles and responsibilities between central government departments and those responsible for overseeing and implementing protection and regulatory responsibilities.

“I believe that an independent environmental protection agency is the way forward, and the time to act is now so that this can be factored into the restructuring plans that are under way”.