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A decision by the Stormont Executive to move a Climate Change Bill forward has been welcomed by South Down MP Chris Hazzard who has asked the public to get involved in the process to shape the legislation here.

 The Bill that has recently come before the Assembly sets out a framework to mitigate the effects of Climate Change in the coming years. This includes reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and balancing the amount removed by our industries and through energy use. The Bill proposes several mechanisms to help achieve its aims including establishment of Climate Action Plans across various sectors and regular reporting to monitor progress in terms of delivering the net-zero target. 

As part of the Assembly’s normal legislative processes, the Climate Change Bill has been referred to the Assembly’s Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) for scrutiny and evaluation. The Committee is seeking views from stakeholders on the objectives, proposals and potential consequences of the Bill so it can understand how the legislation could affect different parts of society and how effective it may be in achieving its aims. Your views will help to inform the AERA Committee’s consideration of the Climate Change Bill and any recommendations it may suggest as the Bill moves to the next stage of the legislative process. 

Chris Hazzard MP said “We are living through a climate emergency with disastrous effects on the natural world, our society, and our economy. We have seen this locally for example with increasing coastal erosion, rising sea levels at our coastal areas such as Strangford Lough, which is putting pressure on drainage, sewage, roads, water and habitats.

Chris Hazzard MP.
Chris Hazzard MP.

“It is positive to see Stormont moving forward with the process to draft new laws aimed at taking meaningful action on climate change and to protect our future. 

“As seen by the recent wildfire on the Mournes, we need a proactive culture of rewilding and regeneration which focuses on preventative measures to mitigate the effects of climate change before it takes its true hold on our natural environment."

The South Down MP added that we must also take into account the effect potential legislation would have on key sectors. Mr Hazzard said “However, we also recognise that there are very real concerns about the impact climate change legislation might have on key sectors, such as agriculture and transport, for example so I very much welcome Stormont’s commitment to launch a public call for evidence. 

“This is an important consultation measure which will allow the community of South Down to engage with the process and to help shape the new legislation. 

"A Climate Change Act must be based on just transition principles which ensures fairness in transitioning to a sustainable economy. That is why it is so important that the public and stakeholders have their say.

"The call for evidence will be open for a period of eight weeks and I would urge as many South Down residents as possible to take this opportunity to have your say in what will be crucial legislation for now and future generations.”

You can find out more about the proposed Bill and join in the debate at CLIMATE-CHANGE-BILL

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