Agriculture Minister Andrew Muir has ruled out a review of NI’s net zero climate change legislation set in 2022, even if he is told by the British government that local targets are too ambitious and will cost too much money to deliver.

Responding to Strangford MLA Michelle McIlveen, the DAERA Minister said the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) was providing the “advice and science base” when it comes to carbon budgets and a draft climate action plan being taken forward by his Department.

“I’m very conscious of the climate change committee’s advice and I consider that to be very important,” said Minister Muir.

“Will I be bringing forward another piece of climate change legislation to undo the Act back in 2022? No,” he added.

The irony of the position was not missed by committee chair, Tom Elliott MLA, who pointed out that a majority of politicians in the last Assembly mandate had ignored the clear advice from the CCC that NI should not set a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050.

Top priority

Elliott also took aim at Minister Muir for putting climate change as his “top priority”, with the needs of agriculture seemingly well down the list.

“That is going against what you were indicating right from the start that you would try to serve all the portfolio equally,” said Elliott.