Northern Ireland calls for Green New Deal

A coalition of industry bodies and environmental campaign groups is calling for new approach to tackling the 'triple crunch' of climate change, recession and rising energy prices.

The resulting campaign, The Green New Deal for Northern Ireland, calls for extensive refurbishment of existing housing stock, more decentralised, low carbon power generation, transformation of the transport sector and the wealth of job creation that would come with it.

“In common with the rest of the world Northern Ireland is in the grip of a serious recession,” said a statement from the programme.

“Job losses are mounting and many businesses are suffering. There is a squeeze on the public finances as revenue falls and the outcome of the Government’s fiscal stimulus and quantitative easing is unknown.”

It said that while at first sight it may appear that the Northern Ireland Executive has its hands tied with most economic policy decisions being made in Westminster, key policy levers – industrial and energy policy, education and training, the environment and social policy–are in devolved hands.

It stressed that crippling levels of unemployment coupled with the fact that NI imports 99% of its energy and its fuel bill accounts for around 10% of the country’s income leave the nation in a vulnerable position when looking at the global recession.

Investment in green buildings, power generation and transport infrastructure could give a country the competitive edge as it emerges from recession, they claimed.

The coalition includes the CBI, Energy Savings Trust, Friends of the Earth, Sustainable Development Commission, NI Federation of Housing Associations and Ulster Farmers Union.

Sam Bond

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