Anna Lo MLA, who is Chair of the Stormont Environment Committee, said: “Alliance has long campaigned for the creation of an independent Environmental Protection Agency and I very much hope that the Minister Alex Attwood will deliver a strong new organisation of this nature.
“The independence of such an agency is crucial in ensuring the highest possible level of protection for the environment and the strongest approach in this regard. It is also vital to ensure that the organisation is not attached to government so that the focus can be concentrated totally on environmental matters.
“It is crucial that any new agency has strong powers to help tackle polluters head on and ensure we can effectively meet the environmental challenges of the future.
“The potential for the creation of an independent Environmental Protection Agency must be closely examined and I believe that there would be very clear benefits in having such an organisation.
“There are real challenges for Northern Ireland in terms of increasing sustainability and I strongly believe that these challenges can be best met if we have an independent agency. Having an independent organisation could also help us position Northern Ireland as a world leader on green issues and could also greatly help in the drive to grow our green economy.”