Northern Ireland has the least protected environment in the UK and Ireland.
For example, in 2003 over 40 per cent of companies failed to comply with their licences to pollute water. This compares with around 30 per cent in England and Wales - and just 16 per cent in Scotland.
Elsewhere, the story is no less depressing:
- Raw sewage is pumped into the sea at our top costal resorts
- Premier wildlife sites are trashed
- Illegal landfill sites are spreading across our countryside
Presiding over all this is an ineffective and complacent environmental watchdog - the Environment and Heritage Service prior to a rebranding exercise in 2008 when it became the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an agency of the Department of the Environment.
We are forced to rely on the European Commission to protect our environment.
Did you know?
Northern Ireland's Environment and Heritage Service was not allowed to object to planning applications in areas with inadequate sewage treatment. This muzzling would not be tolerated anywhere else in the UK.
Towards an independent environmental protection agency
Friends of the Earth, together with other environmental groups, successfully campaigned for a Review of Environmental Protection.
The Review published its recommendations in June 2007. Top of the list was the creation of an independent Environmental Protection Agency.
Read our submission to the Review.
Read the Review's final report, Foundations for the Future
Do you know of a polluting factory? Is a landfill site contaminating your water? Is your local beach spoiled by raw sewage?