'Ground-breaking' Climate Change Bill receives first reading

A 'ground-breaking' Climate Change Bill received its first reading at the Assembly on Monday.

The Bill, lead by leader of the Green Party NI Clare Bailey, has received support from all Executive parties except from the DUP.

The People Before Profit party and Independent MLAs have also backed the legislation.

Ms Bailey said: "Today's first stage reading is an important step in creating the framework for the just transition to a low carbon economy which leaves no citizen behind.

"The Bill contains targets around achieving net zero carbon by 2045, enabling Northern Ireland to become climate resilient and to achieve an environmentally sustainable economy."

The south Belfast MLA continued: "The Bill is ambitious, but ambition is necessary if we are to move beyond the point of irreversible climate breakdown and species decline. "I look forward to the First Stage reading of the Bill and working through the legislative process."

The Bill has been drawn together by Climate Coalition NI, a group of legal professionals, scientists, academics and environmental organisations.

RSPB NI said 'the importance of this landmark legislation cannot be overstated'.

Head of Policy and Advocacy John Martin said the Bill 'should underpin our efforts to act with urgency to address the nature and climate emergency and pave the way to deliver a long-term green recovery in Northern Ireland'.

The charity said it is over 10 years since the UK Climate Change Act was passed, in which time Northern Ireland has failed to introduce legislation of its own.