12/06/2019

Other News In Brief

Man Convicted For Benefit Fraud

A man has been convicted for claiming over £5,000 in benefits he was not entitled to.

Ryan Bailie (34) of Fairhill Road, Newtownabbey, claimed Employment and Support Allowance totalling £5,198 while failing to declare employment. He was given four months imprisonment suspended for twelve months. The fraud was uncovered following an investigation by the Department for Communities.

He is also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Department.

NI Falls Behind In Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Northern Ireland has fallen behind the rest of the UK regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, new figures have revealed.

DAERA's Greenhouse Gas statistical bulletin shows that NI has reduced emissions by less than England, Wales and Scotland.

The region continued to have heavy emissions in the agriculture and transport sectors, accounting for almost 10 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent production in 2017. Emissions have increased in these areas since 1990, while other nations have seen a reduction.

SDLP Environment Spokesperson John Dallat MLA has criticised the "worrying" figures and called for a step change to address the issue.

"Climate change is the seismic challenge facing communities across the world right now," he said. "We have less than 12 years to avoid catastrophic global temperature rises that will lead to unavoidable climate breakdown. That means urgent action is needed.
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"The SDLP has called for a robust Climate Change Act for Northern Ireland with tough targets for emissions reductions. We need to pull our weight when it comes to enhancing green infrastructure, investing in clean public transport and preparing carbon-intensive industries for a green revolution."

Alliance Oppose EHA Exploration Application

The Alliance Party group on Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council have opposed an application from EHA Exploration Limited for a licence to drill for oil and gas.

Leader of the Alliance group on the Council, Councillor Owen Gawith, said: "At a time when we should be moving away from the use of fossil fuels, which contribute massively to climate change, it would be a catastrophe to approve this application. The consultation period of eight weeks is totally inadequate for full consideration by the five council areas covered by this application. A substantial part of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council could be negatively impacted if approved.

"The application covers a huge area of land, including the Belfast Hills, which are vitally important to our wellbeing and should not be subjected to exploration for short term financial gain. The area to be explored almost circles Lough Neagh, which supplies a portion of Belfast’s drinking water. The potential risk to this supply should not be overlooked.

"What is particularly worrying is that, if successful, the petroleum licences will not require any environmental assessments to be carried out. That is totally unacceptable."

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