EPA denied

Calls by environmentalists, Assembly Members and business leaders to create an independent Environmental Protection Agency have been rejected.

In a statement to the Assembly the then Environment Minister announced her decision on the Review of Environmental Governance.

The package of measures included two independent members of the board and a new name for Environment and Heritage Service. It will now be known as the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

The new agency will remain in the Department of the Environment and it will receive no new powers.

Campaigners have branded the move 'cynical and cosmetic'.

The Nothern Ireland Environment Agency was officially launched on 1 July by the current Minister Sammy Wilson. The organisation's performance will be reviewed in 2011.