Belfast Telegraph

New green deal proposal could create over 20,000 jobs in Northern Ireland

A ‘carbon army’ of workers creating more than 20,000 new jobs as part of a low-carbon economy has been mooted as part of a ‘Green New Deal’ for Northern Ireland.

The deal was proposed by a coalition of businesses, trade unions, farmers, voluntary and environmental groups who are calling on government to take a joined-up approach to recession, rising unemployment, rocketing energy prices and climate change.

Northern Ireland’s economy is at risk of failure if fuel prices continue to rise as the country is 99% dependent on imported fossil fuels for energy, the group said.

It has published a vision of how a major investment programme to cut fossil fuel use could create thousands of new jobs, help secure the energy supply and build a low-carbon economy, saying it was “modelled on Roosevelt's New Deal during the great depression of the 30s”.

The green recovery plan is estimated to cost around £900 million a year, and the vision document highlights a number of potential funding streams including a combination of private and public funds, European money and bonds.

Clarke Black, chief executive of the Ulster Farmers' Union, said: “Just one per cent of our energy comes from indigenous renewable sources, but Northern Ireland has the farming expertise to grow the fuel crops which can help to heat homes and businesses, and help us reach a target of 15% renewable energy.”

John Woods, Northern Ireland director of Friends of the Earth, said: “We want the Northern Ireland Executive to adopt the Green New Deal as their 'big idea' for tackling recession, rising energy prices and climate change.”

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