David Ford said: “This refusal is a disgrace. The vast majority of the public want to see the creation of an Environmental Protection Agency and the Executive have snubbed them.
“The manner in which the DUP and Sinn Fein have dealt with this issue is totally unacceptable. No-one from the Executive has made any comment on this issue since they met last Thursday, and I find this very strange. They are trying to hush-up the fact that they have failed local people and they have failed our environment.
“Is the Executive happy to give polluters an easy ride?
“We were not even told whether they voted on this issue. Their decision is deeply undemocratic. It will come back to haunt them in future when the EU cracks down even harder on Northern Ireland and its pollution.”