SAM Foster, NI Minister of the Environment, has announced the creation of two new bodies to boost sustainable waste management in Northern Ireland.

The minister announced the establishment of the Northern Ireland Environmental Services Association (NIESA) and announced the appointment of the first Waste Management Advisory Board for Northern Ireland at Stormont on Tuesday June 19.

NIESA will provide valued technical direction and support to the waste management industry as it strives to fulfil the criteria set out in the Northern Ireland Waste Management Strategy. The strategy aims to move from traditional land-fill sites to a more recycling process of waste disposal.

Mr Foster said: "Government departments, district councils, industry and business, voluntary bodies, the public and the waste management sector need waste management information to set priorities and targets and to help measure progress towards sustainable development."

The Minister was given a specific lump sum of £3.5 million at the start of the year to tackle this problem in Northern Ireland. He stressed how conservation of the environment through effective waste management practices is at the forefront of the Northern Ireland Executive policy agenda: ''I want to stress my Department's commitments towards achieving fully sustainable waste management, as outlined in the Waste Management Strategy for Northern Ireland. The NIESA, which has set up permanent residence in Belfast, can help with this work by assembling and providing information on many of the issues affecting sustainable waste management.”

Mr Foster said that he welcomed this commitment to an economically and environmentally sustainable waste management industry. He added: “I hope this would encourage all of the key stakeholder groups to abandon the throwaway mentality that currently prevails in our society."

The Waste Management Advisory Board for Northern Ireland comprises of 16 members and will be chaired by Mrs Deborah Boyd. It will represent the interests of all key stakeholder groups throughout Northern Ireland, ensuring that the Waste Management Strategy is delivered in a way, which will sustain the region's economic, environmental and social fabric.

The Minister said: ''The Board, together with NIESA, will be a valued source of assistance and advice when implementing our Waste Management Strategy and will help the industry raise environmental standards.'' (AMcE)

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