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Environment Minister Edwin Poots has introduced his Climate Change Bill to the Assembly, after it received approval from the Executive in June.

Speaking about the latest development, Minister Poots said: “While introducing the Bill is a formal process in the Assembly, it signals the momentum behind my Climate Change Bill and I am pleased that we have moved on to the next stage.

“In recent months, there’s been a lot of public, media, political and stakeholder interest in what we do about climate change in Northern Ireland, up to 2050 and beyond – it tells me that we all have the same ultimate goal - to protect our planet. There is more that unites us, than divides us and I am confident that by working together we can ensure that our environment is protected and our agriculture sector is acknowledged as one of the key drivers in making that happen.

“The Bill I’ve presented to the Assembly is based in science, evidence, has sought the views of stakeholders and is costed out properly. It takes a common sense and realistic approach to what is an extremely complex issue that can only be addressed successfully by bringing those who can make the change, along with us. We’ve set ambitious targets and plans, but I’m also aware of the fact that technological advances over the next decade, may in fact help us to move quicker on those targets to cut carbon emissions by at least 82% by 2050. Northern Ireland will play its important part in reach UK net zero by 2050, if not before.

“I intend to maintain the momentum we’ve built up on this since I came into office and I am hopeful my Climate Change Bill can move to the second stage as quickly as possible, with support from my Executive colleagues in the Assembly.”

The Minister also met with Clare Bailey MLA and Rachel Woods MLA today to discuss the benefits of his Bill, which includes achievable targets advised by the internationally respected UK statutory climate change experts, informed by stakeholder input and buy in and targets which are appropriate, fair and equitable.

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said: “Both Clare and I are striving for the same ultimate outcome. I believe my Bill gives us the best chance of making the necessary changes to tackle climate change head on. We must balance the need to produce food and feed our people, with the need to protect our planet – one cannot exist without the other.”