Vital to have a strong local voice in Westminster - MP

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Speaking following the launch of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report launch reviewing the work of the committee, SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie outlined the vital importance of having a Northern Irish voice on the EFRA Committee at Westminster.

Ms Ritchie said: “Today’s report on the work of the Committee shows the breadth and depth of the work covered by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in the past term of parliament. The EFRA Committee has looked at critical issues facing the agricultural community including falling dairy prices, foods security in the face of increasing Climate Change challenges, unacceptable delays in the rollout of rural broadband and measures to better combat Bovine TB.

“It is vitally important to have strong Northern Irish representation on the committee to be a voice on behalf of Northern Ireland consumers, farmers and agricultural community.

“As the only committee member for Northern Ireland, I have proudly represented local farming through highlighting best practice and translating the experience here in Northern Ireland on issues such as the eradication of Bovine TB and the introduction of the plastic bag levy to name but two areas where we have been a leading example on environmental and agricultural issues. The work of the EFRA Committee is relevant also to fishing industries in Northern Ireland, bearing down on fishery negotiations, fish species allocations which are negotiated on an annual basis.”