Blog hosted by RSPB NI for and on behalf of Nature Matters NI -  Follow @NatureMattersNI on Twitter to keep up to date with the campaign.

Credit: Joe Comish, National Trust.

It is still unclear what impact Brexit will have on Northern Ireland's environment. The European Union provides us with strong environmental legislation for nature, agriculture and our marine areas and there’s a risk that this could be lost after leaving the EU.

Protection for our most important sites for nature should be at least as strong as it is now, ensuring our most treasured species and habitats can thrive across the island of Ireland. We have a once in a generation opportunity to develop an agriculture policy which delivers substantially more for the environment and to become world-leaders in sustainable fisheries management.

A healthy environment is important because it supplies us with clean air and water that we all consume. It also provides us with great natural beauty in Northern Ireland.

Environmental organisations such as National Trust NI, Northern Ireland Environment Link, RSPB NI, Ulster Wildlife, have come together to form a coalition campaign called Nature Matters NI.

With Nature Matters NI, we’re on a mission to protect nature, and we will be campaigning on three areas to ensure we secure the best future for our environment in Northern Ireland after Brexit. We believe it’s necessary for the island of Ireland to be considered a single bio-geographic unit. Nature doesn’t respect borders so it’s important that there are high environmental standards north and south of the border.

We will campaign for:


    • To improve action to stop and reverse the ongoing loss of biodiversity;
    • To maintain and improve existing environmental legislation, including on air quality, water quality, climate change and nature protection;
    • For a strong, accountable and independent system of environmental governance. Up until now the European Union has been instrumental in ensuring environmental legislation is properly implemented and enforced in NI. After Brexit this role must be replaced by a new body with the power to hold the NI Government to account in order to protect the environment and ensure the well-being of future generations.

Credit: Ulster Wildlife.


    • UK Government to invest public money in farming and land management policies which deliver a range of public benefits such as improving water quality, protecting soils, enhancing habitats and help to mitigate/adapt to climate change;

    • A Common Framework that makes sure there are no lowering of environmental or welfare standards across the UK meaning one area is not at an advantage over another. There must also be regional flexibility to tailor for local needs;

    • An agreed transition period to allow farmers and land managers time to adapt their businesses to a new programme of measures contained within a new domestic Agriculture policy. For more information see this link.



  • To ensure the NI Executive delivers on the UK’s commitment to achieve ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas’;

  • For a sustainable fisheries management system to ensure our fish populations are healthy as well as the prey species and habitats they rely on

  • For a completed network of protected areas at sea, with effective management plans in place for all areas;

  • To protect existing marine nature protection laws so that biodiversity and habitats can recover and thrive.


Follow @NatureMattersNI on Twitter to keep up to date with our campaign in 2018 and help us secure the best future for our environment in Northern Ireland.