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Civil servants shouldn’t unilaterally be making major policy decisions on environmental protections - Swann

Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA, has hit out after it emerged that DAERA civil servants requested that a major new environmental watchdog be extended to Northern Ireland.

Robin Swann said:

“I have always warned that Brexit should not be considered an opportunity to dilute or weaken our existing environmental standards.

“To avoid gaps opening in the current protections it may well be the sensible solution for Northern Ireland to fall within the scope of England’s new Office for Environmental Protection.

“It is the unilateral manner in which the request was made however – without any political consultation or even advance notification – which I find so concerning.

“For such a significant decision, and one which undoubtedly will be contentious, I am shocked that local civil servants thought that this was an appropriate way to operate.

“Right now Northern Ireland is being led by unelected and wholly unaccountable civil servants. We need Direct Rule now – at least then we would be able to properly scrutinise major policy decisions such as these.”

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