Gallagher: Independent Epa Only Way Forward
Speaking ahead of Tuesdays launch of a report on the review of environmental governance, SDLP Environment Spokesperson Mr Tommy Gallagher stated:
I hope this report will be positive and we will begin to move to catch up with most other countries in the way we look after our environment. We are the only place in these island and one of very few in Europe that doesnt have an independent Environmental Protection Agency. While not the only culprits, central and local government have been involved in serious incidents of pollution and have not been brought to book. The public no longer have any confidence in one arm of government being able to police another properly.
There are two essential requirements for an effective Environmental Protection Agency. It must be completely independent of all vested interests, public or private and quite simply dedicated to best environmental practice. And it must have adequate resources guaranteed and under its full control so that it can act in complete independence.
Since we only have the one environment on this small island, it makes sense that an independent EPA here in the north should co-operate closely with its counterpart in Dublin from the very beginning. If it is to be truly effective, we have got to co-ordinate legislation, resources and working practices.