Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, led an Isle of Man delegation attending the 14th British-Irish Council Environment Ministerial meeting in Guernsey today, Friday 4 November.
Mr Boot took part in discussions on a range of environmental issues, including initiatives to tackle food waste and to improve the quality and quantity of recycling.
The meeting was attended by the UK and Irish Governments, the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
The BIC, established under the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement, plays an important role in developing positive links between member countries. Regular summits and ministerial meetings provide a platform for consultation and cooperation on matters of mutual interest.
Mr Boot said:
‘The Isle of Man takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and has progressed strategies to encourage sustainable food production, to manage its waste and to support biodiversity. It is important to recognise that a good quality natural environment is important to our health, wellbeing and economy.’
‘I was able to highlight the work being carried out by Government Departments in partnership with our food retailers and third sector organisations to address food waste. Raising public awareness of this issue through our agriculture shows and our Food and Drink Festival has already led to some successful redistribution projects. The meeting also discussed how recycling can create economic opportunities as well as reduce the demand for dwindling global resources.’
The meeting was addressed by Tim Smith, Group Quality Director at Tesco PLC, who provided an insight into the company’s efforts to minimise food waste across its operations.
Ministers also considered a paper on the issue and endorsed the need to tackle food waste for a variety of financial, environmental and moral reasons.
Mr Boot attended the Environment Ministerial meeting with Richard Lole, Chief Officer of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, and Bernard Warden, Director of Environment, Safety and Health.
They joined delegations headed by Deputy Barry Brehaut (Guernsey), Dr Therese Coffey MP (UK), Sean Kyne TD (Ireland), Roseanna Cunningham MSP (Scotland), Lesley Griffiths AM (Wales), Alastair Ross MLA and Megan Fearon MLA (Northern Ireland) and Deputy Steve Luce (Jersey).
The official communique is available on the BIC website.