Group raises agency issue

Friends of the Earth has lodged a complaint with the European Commission on Northern Ireland's failure to form an independent environmental protection agency.

The move follows a High Court judge's ruling that the Department of the Environment consulted itself on key planning issues rather than seeking the advice of an independent authority (Planning, 14 September, p1).

The environmental group said it has written to environment minister Arlene Foster asking what measures she plans to put in place to comply with European law, but has received no reply.

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