Stormont needs to act on climate change risk

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The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is urging the incoming Assembly to implement a Climate Change Bill for Northern Ireland and to better protect vulnerable people in the housing market.

Our manifesto for the next Programme for Government 2016 – 2021, outlines our environmental health priorities calling on all political parties to act quickly to cut greenhouse gas emissions locally, introduce mandatory licensing for all tenancies and implement a Public Health Bill to ensure an all hazards approach to public health.

The CIEH is the professional body at the forefront of public health and safety in Northern Ireland and has played a major role in promoting health and well-being changes and we have been integral to Belfast’s transformation into a Sustainable Food City.

With Northern Ireland the only region of the UK that is yet to introduce a Climate Change Act, we believe implementing a Bill is a key priority for the incoming Executive, with the need to set clear targets for carbon reduction and also adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change by introducing ‘climate-proofing’ across all public policy.

The CIEH is also calling on the government to introduce a modern, appropriate, risk based housing fitness standard along with mandatory licensing for all tenancies to help ensure adequate protection for some of the most vulnerable in society. The tragic deaths of five homeless people in Belfast City Centre has reinforced the need for much more protection of vulnerable people in our housing sector.

If these issues are tackled appropriately by the Executive during the next mandate we believe the changes would have a positive impact on the lives of people across in Northern Ireland.

Gary McFarlane, Director of CIEH Northern Ireland