Ms Foster made the comments as she launched the first ever Northern Ireland State of the Environment Report: Our Environment, Our Heritage, Our Future.

The report presents a set of 30 indicators on the condition of the environment across air, water and land for both the natural and built heritage using a 2005 baseline.

It was prepared by the Environment and Heritage Service, which is an executive agency of the Department of the Environment.

Among the issues addressed in the report are the new River Basin Management Plans to tackle water pollution.

“Experience shows the complex issues involved need application and thinking which is not constrained by traditional work boundaries,” Ms Foster said.

The Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) is the largest agency within the Department of the Environment and is involved with advising on the implementation of the government’s environmental policy and strategy in Northern Ireland.

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