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NFFN NI Consultation Response: Green Growth Strategy

What is the consultation?

On the 21st of October, DAERA published a draft Green Growth Strategy for Northern Ireland, which aims to provide a vision and framework for delivering green growth which all other NI government policies and strategies must align. It aims to embed wider climate change, a green economy and environmental considerations into decision-making.

Why should nature-friendly farming be concerned?

The Green Growth Strategy will play an important role in shaping the future of environmental management in Northern Ireland over decades to come. It will have a key influence on several other policy areas relevant to nature-friendly farming, such as the forthcoming Environment Strategy and a Future Agriculture Policy Framework. It is important that the Green Growth Strategy reflects the nature and climate emergency we are currently facing, providing much-needed join-up across all Government Departments.

What are the NFFN’s key recommendations?

The Green Growth Strategy will have significant implications for a broad range of policies influencing the management of land, nature and the environment in Northern Ireland, in relation to meeting efforts for biodiversity restoration, to improve water & air quality and other environmental commitments. Therefore, it is crucial that the Strategy contributes towards meeting these objectives, rather than undermining them.

We welcome the principle of achieving significant reductions in GHG emissions, investing in ‘green jobs’ and improving the environment. However, the definition of Green Growth is vague (particularly in a NI context) and does not safeguard against potentially perverse outcomes. It should be more clearly defined to ward off against potential unintended consequences. 

What’s next?

As the Green Growth Strategy has been developed in advance of agreed biodiversity and environment strategies, it is unclear how these will guide important decisions regarding investment. We will push for the publication of these strategies so that investments aimed at encouraging green growth serve to deliver nature’s protection and restoration and support profitable, nature-friendly farming.

Read our consultation response here.