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Political, economic and environmental crisis in Northern Ireland: the true cost of environmental governance failures and opportunities for reform

Lookup NU author(s): Ciara Brennan



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Queens University Belfast, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Decades of systemic failure to take environmental protection seriously has brought Northern Ireland to thebrink of environmental, and now political and economic disaster. This article will consider the reasons whyenvironmental governance in this jurisdiction has continued to be so problematic and the cost of governmentfailure in this context for the people of Northern Ireland. It will set out the environmental, economic andsocio-political consequences of the epic failures of successive devolved administrations to take environmentalgovernance seriously, to respond to critiques of the performance of the environmental regulator and to ensurethe effective enforcement of environmental law. Finally, it will consider options for dealing with this ongoingproblem in a turbulent political environment where collapsing political institutions at Stormont and widerconstitutional issues associated with the UK’s plans to leave the EU may continue to stymie reform or presenta unique opportunity to reinvent environmental governance and begin the process of remedying the damagecaused by years of neglect.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brennan C, Purdy R, Hjerp P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly

Year: 2017

Volume: 68

Issue: 2

Pages: 123-157

Online publication date: 09/08/2017

Acceptance date: 17/07/2017

Date deposited: 07/08/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2514-4936

Publisher: Queens University Belfast



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