Nature and the Northern Ireland Assembly
We need to make sure that the natural environment is on the Northern Ireland Assembly’s agenda for 2016-2021. You can help by emailing the leaders of the five Executive parties so that they don’t forget nature when making the big decisions.
What we're calling for
Protecting nature on land and sea
Our nature is in trouble. We need the NI Executive to adopt the target to halt biodiversity loss by 2020 and a commitment by all departments to meet challenging biodiversity targets. We also require a network of Marine Protected Areas with effective management plans as well as all ASSIs on land (Areas of Special Scientific Interest) in, or approaching favourable condition by 2021.
Health and well-being
The links between our natural environment and public health have long been recognised and proven. We want the NI Executive to work with the RSPB, and others, to deliver pilot projects with healthcare professionals. For example, A ‘GP referral programme’ where patients can be prescribed nature related activities to tackle mental and/or physical health.
Education is the fundamental building block upon which we inspire future generations to learn about the natural world and in turn inspire them to become the environmental champions of today – and tomorrow. To help encourage a greater connection to nature for our children, we are asking the Executive to embed outdoor learning in the natural environment into the NI Curriculum and school inspections, and support this requirement through Initial Teacher Training and continuing professional development.
Sustainable agriculture and land use
Nature on farmland is in trouble. Agricultural intensification has resulted in unintended consequences for the environment such as declines in wildlife, problems with water quality and a reduction of soil quality, all of which form the productive base of agriculture. RSPB NI is calling for the funding for the Environmental Farming Scheme to be protected until 2020 and must include advisory support for farmers to contribute to halting biodiversity decline.
Towards a low carbon economy
Climate change is one of the greatest long-term threats to nature. Therefore, we are calling for the Executive to deliver a Northern Ireland Climate Change Act that legislates for targets and policies to guide and ensure a smooth transition to a low carbon economy.
For more information
RSPB NI also supports and has contributed to the Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) policy priorities document.
Who to email
Here are the email addresses of the five Executive parties. Contact them so that they don't forget nature when making decisions.
DUP: Arlene Foster: arlene.foster@MLA.niassembly.gov.uk
Sinn Féin: Michelle O'Neill: michelle.oneill@MLA.niassembly.gov.uk
UUP: Robin Swann: robin.swann@MLA.niassembly.gov.uk
SDLP: Colum Eastwood: colum.eastwood@MLA.niassembly.gov.uk
Alliance: Naomi Long: naomi.long@MLA.niassembly.gov.uk