Following the agreement to form a new Northern Ireland government after two years without one, Andrew Muir MLA has been appointed as Environment Minister.
Speaking during his first week in office, the newly-appointed Minister has said he will deliver across the “full remit” of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), and will “…implement policies and strategies that benefit our climate and environment.”
In the context of immediate environmental and agricultural challenges, Muir referred to the situation of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Northern Ireland and source of 40% of the country’s drinking water. It was hit by record levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae in 2023. Muir said the Lough was as a reminder of the need to deliver urgent change. However, he cautioned that, “… it will take many years, if not decades for the lough to improve and recover, there are no quick fixes here.”
Muir also spoke of his intention to engage with stakeholders and partners across Northern Ireland, and of a longer term focus for policies and programmes, especially those needed to deliver the challenging targets for reducing carbon emissions.