David Ford MLA said: “This is extremely worrying that the majority of protected areas are not being well maintained. I am sure that most people who get enjoyment from these protected areas will be concerned.
“Northern Ireland is failing to live up to its obligations to declare an adequate number of ASSIs and to maintain the ones we currently have. This further strengthens the case for an independent environmental protection agency. It also illustrates the inadequacy of funding for this vital purpose.
“I would call on the Minister for the Environment Sammy Wilson to make it one of his priorities that these protected areas will be better protected in the future”