Commitment to clean air a step forward for Northern Ireland

09 October 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the commitment from the Northern Ireland Executive to tackle air pollution and move forward on a clean air strategy.

Yesterday, Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon made a firm commitment to improve Northern Ireland’s air quality and bring about Northern Ireland’s first ever Clean Air Strategy.

The announcement was made on Clean Air Day. Coordinated by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, bringing together businesses, education, and the health sector, to increase awareness of the health impacts of air pollution, improve the understanding of air pollution and suggest actions that everyone can take to reduce air pollution.

CIEH has long campaigned for a new Clean Air Act and for governments across the United Kingdom to make tangible and deliverable commitments to improving air quality.

Gary McFarlane, CIEH Northern Ireland Director, said:

“Air quality is a real issue not only in Northern Ireland but across all of the UK.

We have been campaigning vigorously for the UK Government, and the devolved institutions, to commit to introducing air quality targets, which are legally binding, and commit to reaching World Health Organisation guidelines in the shortest time possible, in order to protect public health.

This announcement from the Northern Ireland Executive is a positive step forward and a promising statement of intent. It is particularly encouraging to see the joined-up nature of this statement involving not only DAERA but also DFI which recognises that achieving cleaner air, like many public health goals, will require joined up thinking.

We look forward to contributing to the forthcoming discussion paper and working with the Executive to support their commitment to the first Clean Air Strategy for NI.”

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