Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Ms. Carolyn Donnelly, Democratic Services officer 

No. Item




            Apologies for inability to attend were reported on behalf of The Deputy Lord Mayor, Alderman Haire and Alderman Sandford.



Declarations of Interest


            No Declarations of Interest were reported.



Overview of agreed Terms of Reference


The Committee noted the agreed Terms of Reference.



Climate actions – headline summary of business plan pdf icon PDF 274 KB


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to update Members on the work programme coordinated by the Belfast City Council Climate Unit at both city and council level.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note the contents of the climate business plan, which includes workstreams at both council and city level.


3.0       Main report


3.1       The Climate Unit is a small team within Belfast City Council currently comprising four staff. The Unit is in the process of being restructured and expanded to replace the temporary roles in order to deliver the city and council needs to address climate and resilience as outlined in the Belfast Agenda and Resilience Strategy. Once recruitment is completed, the team will comprise the following posts:


·                  Climate Commissioner,

·                  Climate Programme Manager – Council,

·                  Climate Programme Manager – City,

·                  Adaptation and Resilience Advisor,

·                  Green Economy Advisor,

·                  Monitoring, Learning and Reporting Officer,

·                  Project Support Officer – Climate, and

·                  Project Support Assistant.


3.2       The initial focus of the Climate Unit was the development of the Belfast Resilience Strategy, which was launched in December 2020 following approval by Council. In the same month the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap and the Belfast One Million Trees Programme were also publicly launched.


3.3       The Belfast Resilience Strategy set out a goal “to transition Belfast to an inclusive, net-zero emissions, climate-resilient economy in a generation” and identified three key areas of focus – Climate adaptation and mitigation, Participation of children and young people, and Connected net-zero emissions economy, along with thirty projects that collectively would enhance city resilience.


3.4       Since then, the Climate Unit has been focused on coordination of city and council structures, and the development of the city and council climate plans, as well as delivering projects such as Belfast One Million Trees and the VPACH project. The Unit is responsible for two separate but related workstreams at City Level and Council Level.


City Level


Governance structures


The Climate Commissioner co-chairs the Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board (with NIHE, the Utility Regulator and NI Water) within the Belfast Community Planning Partnership structure and the Climate Unit handles all coordination and secretariat functions. The Board is responsible for delivering the Belfast Resilience Strategy.


The Climate Commissioner co-chairs the the Belfast Climate Commission in partnership with QUB, as part of the PCAN (place-based climate action) Network with Leeds, Edinburgh and other cities. The Climate Commission has set up a number of working groups including Just Transition, Youth Working Group, Business and Finance, Food, and Community Climate Action Working Group. The Commission is co-chaired by Belfast City Council and QUB.


The Resilience and Sustainability Board has typically been responsible for citywide planning and delivery, while the Commission provides advice and research, such as the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap.




The Resilience Strategy is being delivered through 30 projects (summarised in the Ambitions document). These are led by a range of different institutions and include:


·             Green  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Update on Current Issues pdf icon PDF 255 KB


The Committee noted the following report which provided an update in relation to the progress to date to develop the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with a progress update on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor (DBEC) and work on a development plan, strategy and action plan to progress this work. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Members of the Committee are asked to:


·             Note the contents of this report and progress to date to develop the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.


3.0       Main report


3.1       At its meeting on 9th June 2021, Members of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee were provided with an update on progress to support the development of the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor including proposals for work on a development plan and governance structure involving business and elected representatives.  Members noted the progress to date and endorsed the approach.


3.2       The DBEC group proceeded with the commissioning of a development plan, strategy and action plan for the partnership.   Belfast City Council acted as lead partner on the tendering and contract management of this work.  The development plan is progressing well.  It is being supported by a working group of officials from across the partnership. Activities include:


·             Review of successful corridors, including staffing, funding, legal and governance structures including powers and purpose, and successful initiatives or projects carried out by the partners

·             Review of existing cross border structures/entities and funding, legislative environment

·             Review of existing research and delivery in priority sectors to identify gaps in provision/research, areas of alignment and potential for collaboration

·             Identification of options to support the development of a DBEC entity aligned with the partnership’s ambitions including recommended governance, legal and operating structures

·             Development of a detailed resource plan to support the delivery of the DBEC entity including identification of potential sources of funding.


3.3       To date, the delivery team has undertaken research in relation to future governance, operational, legal and resourcing models for the partnership. This has included a comparative analysis of other corridors and consultations with existing cross border institutions and relevant internal and external stakeholders. The next steps for stage 1 include finalising consultations with cross border bodies and preparing the implementation and resourcing plan.  Once approved the delivery team will proceed to stage 2 of the project.


Since the previous update, the inaugural meeting of the Dublin Belfast Political Oversight Group took place on 23rd November 2021 at City North Hotel, Dublin. The CEOs of the council partners attended the meeting along with the three elected representatives from each council.  A Chair and Vice Chair of the group were elected to serve a one-year term.  The Chair is Councillor Pete Byrne from Newry Mourne and Down District Council and the Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Seána Ó Rodaigh, of Fingal County Council was elected as Vice-Chair. The team delivering the development plan used this session as an opportunity to undertake a consultation workshop with elected  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Proposed areas of focus for future meetings of the Climate and City Resilience Committee pdf icon PDF 247 KB


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to seek approval from Members on the proposed areas of focus for discussion at future meetings of the Climate and City Resilience Committee.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to approve the suggested topics and agree those which should form the agenda for the forthcoming meetings of the Climate and City Resilience Committee. Members may wish to suggest additional items for consideration.


3.0       Main report


3.1       It is proposed that the Committee undertake Climate Emergency Training which will be delivered by Climate NI, working with officers in the Climate Unit. Options for training include:


a)          Delivery by dedicating a future meeting of the Committee (7th April for example) to a three-hour training session which would be followed by individual work to complete the full seven-hour training and receive accreditation. This approach would support Belfast City Council being accredited as a Climate Literate Organisation and would show leadership as we seek to embed climate training throughout the organisation.


b)          Delivery at two future Committee meetings so that all content is delivered in by Climate NI within the Committee meeting structure.


c)          Delivery through a session held outside of the existing meeting schedule, however, we are mindful of Members time and the challenge of finding time for such as session. 


3.2       It is proposed that the subsequent meetings of the committee would focus on the following key areas:


·        An update on the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) which would be set in the context of the DFE coordinated NI Energy Strategy, ongoing work on this topic by DFI, and the work undertaken to date in Belfast through the VPACH project;


·        The One Million Trees Programme;


·        The Council’s baseline emissions and results of the energy review;


·        Climate Fund – update on pilot projects;


·        Bolder Vision;


·        Belfast Stories;


·        Housing retrofit and decarbonising heat in buildings;


·        Challenges and opportunities for collaboration through the Shared Island Unit and Shared Prosperity Fund;


·        The Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor initiative;


·        Cyber Security arrangements in Belfast City Council and wider considerations;


·        Port Health and Port checks legal position


4.0       Financial and Resource Implications


4.1       No financial or resource implications are anticipated at present.


5.0       Equality or Good Relations Implications/

Rural Needs Implications


5.1       Any good relations or equality implications will be identified as part of the Council’s screening process.”


            In response to a number of questions, the Strategic Director confirmed that there were a number of items which fell within the remit of other Committees.  However, where there were specific areas of work relating to climate, reports would be submitted to this Committee for consideration.


            After discussion, the Committee adopted the recommendation and agreed to a Member’s request that Prof. Ciaran White BL and Francis Costello be invited to a future to address the Committee in relation to their research on the possibility of Northern Ireland securing European Parliament and European Committee of the Regions elected  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.