Political parties ‘guilty of wanton vandalism of economy and rural way of life’ - Lockhart

An MP has accused those political parties in Northern Ireland, who backed an amendment to include a Net Zero by 2050 target in the Climate Change (No2) Bill, of being “guilty of wanton vandalism of our economy and rural way of life”.

Upper Bann representative Carla Lockhart commented: “On a weekly basis these parties pay lip service to farmers.

“In the pages of this newspaper I read the latest musings of people like Declan McAleer from Sinn Fein, purporting to support farming and our agri-food sector.
“Yet when it came to the crunch, when farmers needed these representatives to stand alongside them, they chose to turn on them and actually rob people of the livelihood and way of life they cherish.
“That is unforgivable.”

Ms Lockhart continued: “Throughout the pandemic these parties have parroted the line that we must listen to the experts.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart

“Yet on this issue, they have ignored the experts.

“The Climate Change Committee were clear in their advice - a Net Zero target by 2050 was not their preferred position for Northern Ireland.
“Instead, these parties have chosen to follow a path set out by environmental lobby groups with no care for rural jobs, rising food prices and the impact on low income families, and the wider destruction of our Northern Ireland economy.”

The MP said grown here is better than flown here, for both the economy and the environment.

She added: “Yet through their actions, these parties have set us on a pathway that will see our food produced in places like Brazil, where the rainforest is being cleared to allow for food production, instead of on the small family farms of Ulster.

“It defies logic.

“My hope is that at further consideration stage these parties will see sense and support the DAERA Minister in undoing this act of economic vandalism.

“If they fail to do so, they show themselves to be no supporters of farmers and our agri-food industry.

“We all support action to address climate change, but it must be realistic and we should listen to the experts, and always remember that livelihoods here are at stake,” Ms Lockhart concluded.