A total of £175m will be made available over the next three financial years to start implementing the Stormont Executive’s Green Growth strategy.
A draft strategy was launched in October 2021. It is being led by DAERA, with the long-term aim to change NI to a low greenhouse gas emissions society. Among the major projects to be covered by Green Growth include plans to restore peatland in NI.
During a meeting with MLAs on the Stormont Agriculture committee last Thursday, DAERA officials confirmed that the £175m is mainly coming from the Department for Finance, along with some EU funds.
However, indicative DAERA estimates had suggested £600m could be required over the next five-year period to deliver Green Growth.
“By the time we get to 2024/25, and we are looking forward to the next three year budget period, Green Growth will be well embedded.
“It will have a much higher profile that will secure a higher amount of funding in future years,” suggested Roger Downey from DAERA.
He also confirmed that DAERA has submitted a bid to recruit up to 223 new staff over the next three years to deliver the Green Growth strategy across the Department.
MLAs want HMRC to back down on red diesel
Members of Stormont Agriculture committee have agreed to write to HMRC calling on the UK government not to implement tax changes on red diesel from 1 April 2022.
The changes limit the number of sectors allowed to use red diesel to the likes of agriculture and fishing.
According to the UK government, the aim is to incentivise diesel users to improve energy efficiency of vehicles and machinery, and ultimately use less fuel.
“It is a very serious issue and we have all been lobbied about it,” said committee chair Declan McAleer.