Environment minister Sammy Wilson claimed at the organisation’s inauguration that he was committed to delivering a strong and safe environment through liaising with the country’s companies.

The NIEA, replacing the Environment and Heritage Service, will be better equipped to tackle pollution, protect natural and built heritage and provide guidance to businesses.

Mr Wilson said: “The environment and the economy do not need to be competitors although unfortunately there are some who see it that way.

“They can be partners helping us to build a stronger and better Northern Ireland.

“In addition, the minister announced that Euro 2m is to be invested in better environmental regulation over the next three years, as well as the creation of 40 new posts to facilitate the adherence to regulations.

Meanwhile, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland may be joining forces in creating an interconnecting energy grid to supply wind energy to each country.

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