As the Prime Minister prepares to trigger Article 50, this blog post looks at the potential consequences for environmental standards here in Northern Ireland.
How might leaving the European Union impact on environmental policy, funding and legislation in Northern Ireland?
The plant disease and invasive species threat posed to the environment in Northern Ireland is increasing, and likely to continue to do so due to factors such as increasing world trade and the potential impacts of climate change. These factors also increase the potential risk of the threats that we face diversifying and affecting a wider range of plant species.
Prolonged heavy rainfall over the winter of 2015 has shown how devastating flooding can be to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. With predictions that localised flooding will become an ever more common occurrence, how prepared is Northern Ireland to manage flood risk?
At the beginning of the last Assembly mandate in 2011, the Research and Information Service wrote a piece on the possibility of new legislation for Northern Ireland, ‘Climate Change: the need to raise the game’ [page 90 | PDF | 4.7mb]. Five years on, the climate change debate still remains and legislation specific to Northern Ireland has not yet been introduced. However, discussions around the introduction of legislation have more recently picked up momentum again.
Local government underwent significant structural change in 2015 with the number of councils reducing from 26 to 11, and the transfer of many functions from central to local government. This has brought changes to the ways in which the environment is managed. In 2016, these changes have continued with a reorganisation of Executive functions.