Friends of the Earth)
James Orr is Director of Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland
What is DUP policy on climate change, nature, planning, environmental regulation, transport and agriculture?
The DUP might be propping up the Conservative government (DUP leader Arlene Foster pictured, top). But this Brexit-supporting party is not best friends with the environment.
The DUP’s latest manifesto does not even mention the words “environment” or “climate change”.
The DUP does say a lot, however, about cutting red tape. It is pro fracking and pro industrial farming.
They have only one senior climate change denier, in Sammy Wilson, and when in power they made him Minister for the Environment.
The DUP, like Sinn Fein, emerged from sectarian and political conflict.
Before the peace agreement in 1997 it was not really possible to talk about environmental issues as the country was consumed by violent conflict.
Friends of the Earth expected the peace agreement to create the conditions for a new future where we looked after the land air and water that we all depend on.
But that has not happened. However we believe these hugely important issues can unite the entire community and create the conditions for future peace.
Here are 6 key environmental issues in Northern Ireland – and DUP policy on climate change, nature, planning, environmental regulation, transport and agriculture.
1 Climate change and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is the only jurisdiction in the UK to not have a climate change law that provides a legal framework to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The DUP has consistently blocked a Northern Ireland Climate Change Act and support fracking and other oil and gas exploration.
And yet latest figures show our greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased, due to agriculture and transport.
The DUP has supported the removal of rates relief for energy efficient buildings. On a related issue, nearly half the population is living in fuel poverty, meaning they cannot keep their homes warm at a reasonable cost. A programme of better insulation for homes for those on low income would help to solve this.
Friends of the Earth is campaigning for the Northern Ireland government to do its fair share in meeting internationally agreed emissions reductions targets, and for a Green New Deal that would enable a sustainable economy.
This requires a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly and for all parties to take responsibility for the biggest issue facing future generations.
2 Environmental regulation in Northern Ireland
3 Planning in Northern Ireland
4 Transport and the environment in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland we drive too much, and we need to boost people’s use of public transport.
However, Northern Ireland Executive policy on transport favours the building of major new roads, with serious implications for road safety and air quality – air pollution is driving respiratory illness in some of our poorest council wards.
A new road is planned through protected wetlands at Lough Beg, crucial to migratory whooper swans, and the landscape that inspired Nobel-prize winning poet Seamus Heaney
Friends of the Earth is working with other groups campaigning against new roads that are affecting sensitive habitats, for better public transport and for more opportunities for cycling.
5 Industrial agriculture in Northern Ireland
6 Political donor secrecy in Northern Ireland
Friends of the Earth has been campaigning for transparency of party funding in Northern Ireland for half a decade.
You can help by clicking on the button below and telling the Northern Ireland Secretary of State that our democracy is compromised by this shadowy party funding.