Friends of the Earth has responded to the post being filled by Mr Wilson by stating that it could be detrimental for the country’s progress when relating to climate change, given his sceptical views regarding the issue, according to the BBC.

Speaking after being brought into the executive during a DUP reshuffle, Mr Wilson reaffirmed his doubts by claiming that he did not think that any firm evidence had been produced that linked climate change with CO2 emissions.

He added that while he intends to do a “good job” he said he will make efforts to ensure that Northern Ireland’s agenda is not dominated by “green fanatics”.

A statement from Friends of the Earth director in the north read: “It is difficult to see how a minister who holds such views in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence could be a credible protector of our environment.”

The Department of the Environment was created in 1999 with a view to improving the quality of life for everyone in the country.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie