Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Environment cuts could lead to EU fines: RSPB

Northern Ireland’s taxpayers could end up footing the bill for millions of pounds in EU fines if spending is cut on key areas of the environment, the RSPB has warned.

The RSPB is warning that swingeing cuts proposed in the DoE draft budget could damage vital work aimed at delivering a host of EU directives including the Marine Strategy Framework, Water Framework, Birds and Habitats, Bathing Water and Environmental Noise.

Instead of Northern Ireland saving money, taxpayers could be faced with fines worth millions along with a deteriorating environment, RSPB NI director Dr James Robinson warned, pointing out the money would be better spent on funding frontline services.

Proposed spending cuts include marine resources, river restoration, environmental noise, fly-tipping and designation of Areas of Special Scientific Interest.

“Failure to meet these directives puts us at a very real risk of massive infringement fines from Europe, with a direct burden placed on local taxpayers and potential impact on our future block grant from Westminster,” Dr Robinson said.

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