McMurray Says EPA Needed In Assembly Maiden Speech

Independent Environmental Protection Agency needed to restore South Down’s natural environment says McMurray

During his maiden speech in the Assembly, Alliance South Down MLA Andrew McMurray has said that an independent Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is crucial for improving the quality of South Down’s natural environment.

And he said it was also crucial for as well addressing a host of other environmental issues in the area.

He made his maiden speech during a debate around a motion calling for the establishment of an independent EPA and declaring our current situation as an ecological and biodiversity crisis.

Mr McMurray has said: “Getting the opportunity to represent the area of South Down, my home, is an incredible honour and not one I take lightly.

South Down Alliance MLA Andrew McMurray made his maiden speech to the Assembly and called for the introduction of an Independent Environmental Protection Agency.

“It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a superb coastline consisting of strands, rocky shores and tidal loughs, areas of ancient woodland, alongside many other natural resources which our travel and tourism industry is built upon.

“These resources are an asset to the local community, but they are under threat as a result of climate change and unsustainable environmental practices.

“For example, there has been a demonstrably stark deterioration in the water quality of our rivers over the past 10 years.

“Our rivers, lakes and river estuaries cannot even be deemed to be of ‘good’ overall status, but are merely ‘moderate’.

“There are schemes in place doing amazing work here in South Down to help address this however, such as The Mourne Heritage Trust’s ‘Healthy Heathlands’, the National Trust’s DAERA-funded wildlife recovery projects and path building on the side of Slieve Donard, and the RSPB’s Red Kite scheme, for example.

“To see real long-term change, however, we need to see a truly cross-cutting and integrated approach from the Assembly.

“And this needs to be accompanied by the establishment of a fully independent Environmental Protection Agency, something which Alliance has been long since calling for.

“For the sake of our natural environment, in South Down and right across NI, we must ensure comprehensive, independent oversight of Northern Ireland’s environmental performance.

“This is something DAERA Minister Andrew Muir has proven keen to see done, and I look forward to engaging with him further on this.”