NI: Environmental groups raise legal costs concerns

Justice Minister David Ford
Justice Minister David Ford

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford has met with environmental groups to discuss their concerns over legal costs.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Northern Ireland Environment Link have raised concerns about the cost to individuals and organisations of challenging public decisions that could have an impact on the environment.

The meeting followed a completed Department of Justice consultation on proposed changes to existing costs protection scheme for Aarhus Convention cases.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ford said: “I believe it is right that members of the public and environmental groups should be able to challenge decisions taken which may impact on the environment without that being prohibitively expensive.

“My purpose in consulting was to ensure that environmental groups and other interested parties had the opportunity to put forward their views on this important issue. I am sympathetic to the concerns that have been raised and have asked my officials to consider this as they move forward in analysing the responses.”

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