Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, City Hall, Belfast

Contact: Ms. Carolyn Donnelly, Democratic Services officer 

No. Item




            Apologies for inability to attend were reported on behalf of Councillors McKeown and McCann.



Declarations of Interest


            No declarations of interest were reported.






            The minutes of the meeting of 7th April were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 9th May.



Ciaran White and Francis Costello - Paper on EU elections "Allowing Northern Ireland residents to vote in future EU Parliamentary Elections" pdf icon PDF 88 KB


Further to Committee approval at the March meeting, the Members welcomed Professor Ciaran White BL and Dr Francis Costello who addressed the Committee in relation to their research on the possibility of Northern Ireland securing European Parliament and European Committee of the Regions elected representation. Prof. White and Dr Costello provided a detailed research paper in advance of the meeting which was circulated to the Members.  Prof. White and Dr Costello reprised key points contained within the paper and used Cyprus and France as examples in the context of restoring a democratic deficit.


The deputation then answered a number of questions, following which it was


Moved by Councillor de Faoite;

Seconded by Councillor Flynn;


That “Belfast City Council; Recognises there are concerns about a democratic deficit in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol and its implementation;


Agrees to write to the British and Irish Governments and the European Commission to propose that Northern Ireland be allocated representation in the European Parliament and European Committee of the Regions, with voting rights limited to matters which directly relate to or govern the Northern Ireland Protocol;


Believes that representation in both institutions should be commensurate with a member state of the same or similar population to ensure that Northern Ireland’s voice is adequately heard;


Proposes that the members of the European Parliament representing Northern Ireland should be directly elected and those members of the European Committee of the Regions shall be appointed by the Northern Ireland Assembly”.


            Members thanked Prof. White and Dr Costello for their presentation.  Discussion ensued around democracy and representation and some of the Members relayed comments and concerns to which Dr Costello and Prof. White responded.  Councillor de Faoite reiterated his comments to Council on 9th May in the context of his proposal. 


On a vote 6 Members voted for the proposal and 6 against.


There being an equality of votes, the Chairperson exercised his second and casting vote in favour of the proposal and it was declared carried.


The Chairperson thanked Prof. White and Dr Costello for their presentation.



Restricted Items


The information contained in the report associated with the following two items is restricted in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the members of the Press and public from the meeting during discussion of the following items as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.



Electric Vehicle Infrastructure


                  The Climate Commissioner submitted a report to update the Members on the VPACH 2, and to consider a joint application to the UK Government’s ORCS to undertake a pilot project in City Council Car parks; and to inform the Members of a new opportunity to consider the installation of a fully funded EV charging hub on Council land.


            The Committee granted approval for the internal EV Officers Group to work with ESB to identify and expedite locations for charging hubs in the city and for CMT to meet with Liberty Charge to discuss the ORCS opportunity with a paper brought back for approval by CMT and the relevant Committee(s).



Port Health Update


                  The Operational Director of City and Neighbourhood Services referred to the report which provided the Members with an update on the Council’s Port Health operations and delivery of imported food controls, in the context of the continuing UK Government/EU discussions in relation to implementation of the NI Protocol and she responded to questions from some Members.


                  The Committee noted the contents of the report.



Update on current issues


Work of the Climate Unit pdf icon PDF 243 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 current activities carried out by the Belfast City Council Climate Unit. Further updates will be provided as specific areas of work progress.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note of the key areas of focus for the Belfast City Council Climate Unit.


3.0       Main report


            Council - Key areas of focus and progress


1.      A baseline emissions analysis of BCC and a preliminary net zero target and trajectory has been completed (detailed in separate paper).

2.      An energy review of five buildings is underway (City Hall, Cecil Ward, Waterfront Hall, North Queen Street


3.      Community Centre, Shankill Leisure Centre). This work will be completed by August 2022.

4.      A climate risk assessment, climate action plan and climate investment plan for BCC will be carried out from May-Sep.

5.      14 phase 1 pilots supported by the Climate Fund have commenced this quarter: (1) Pilot insultation programme; (2) Solar PV investigation across the estate (3) Rollout of the Hysop project – hydraulic optimisation initiative; (4) EV charging at leisure centres; (5) Pilot recycling in the city centre; (6) study to assess carbon stocks on BCC owned peatland on Belfast Hills; (7) Survey of wildflower meadows / species rich grassland at 4 sites across the City; (8) Economic appraisal of larger tree nursery/commercial opportunities; (9) Installing additional electric charging points at Duncrue; (10) HVO trial in 10 vehicles; (11) Smart chargers study (12) Furniture recycling/up-cycling pilot; (13) Carpet recycling pilot; and (14) Scale up Repair and reuse laptop scheme.

6.      A climate data platform is being scoped, EOIs have been sought and received from several companies and a business case will be developed for consideration by Digital Services.

7.      A pilot programme is underway to measure supply chain emissions using the Trace Data Service Pilot Platform developed by Praesideo.

8.      Ongoing coordination of climate initiatives through the Climate Programme Board and the Climate and Resilience Committee.


3.2       Council - Key areas of focus and progress


1.      Ongoing delivery of One million Trees and UPSURGE projects and completion of the VPACH project.

2.      Social Farms & Gardens, a UK wide charity supporting communities to farm, garden and grow together, have been contracted to review the existing Belfast Sustainable Food Place (SFP) accreditation, undertake engagement with key stakeholders and propose a framework and action plan which will allow for renewal of the Bronze Sustainable Food Place award and potential progression to Silver and Gold. This work will be completed by July 2022.

3.      Collation of climate data for annual submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project and the GDS Index.

4.      Ongoing engagement with LSE, PCAN, GFI and UKCCIC to position Belfast as a Net Zero finance demonstrator.

5.      Initial work is underway to scope a local carbon offsetting fund (detailed in separate paper). 



6.      Climate considerations are being mainstreamed into key strategies and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


BCC Carbon Baseline and Trajectory Report pdf icon PDF 245 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 draft Belfast City Council Carbon Baseline and Trajectory.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note the progress towards a draft Belfast City Council carbon baseline and trajectory and note that a more detailed report will be brought to a future committee when the baseline and trajectory report has been finalised.


3.0       Main report


3.1       BCC Carbon Baseline and Trajectory Report


            In October 2019, Belfast City Council declared a Climate Change Emergency. It was agreed that a Belfast City Council Climate Mitigation and Adaptation plan would be prepared and adopted with an aim of reducing carbon emissions by 80% compared to 2005 levels as quickly as possible.


            The Carbon Baseline and Trajectory report can be used as a benchmark to record current emissions and to track performance against future emissions. The carbon footprint baseline has been undertaken in accordance with best practise guidance by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and calculated using 2019 conversion factors for the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).


            The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) were contacted to clarify which conversion factors should be used in Northern Ireland and they confirmed that the UK conversion factors, published by BEIS are the data that they would employ.


            The trajectory baseline year was nominated as the financial year of 2019/20, which is the reference point to base ‘current’ emissions on and used to forecast the pathway to net zero carbon. It was decided to use this year as this represented the most comprehensive period of monitoring the energy and water usage of all assets and is considered a ‘typical’ year prior to Covid restrictions.



            A selection of site surveys are scheduled to be undertaken in June 2022.


            The carbon footprint is categorised into scopes, which cover:


            Scope 1 (direct) emissions are from activities owned or controlled by the Council. Examples of Scope 1 emissions include emissions from combustion in Council owned or controlled boilers, furnaces and vehicles.


            Scope 2 (indirect) emissions are associated with purchased electricity, heat, steam and cooling. These indirect emissions are a consequence of the Council’s energy use, but occur at sources that the Council do not own or control. Examples include grid supplied electricity and heat provided through a heat network.


            Scope 3 (other indirect) emissions are a consequence of the Council’s actions that occur at sources the Council do not own or control and are not classed as Scope 2 emissions. Examples of Scope 3 emissions include business travel by means not owned or controlled by the Council (grey fleet), disposing of the Council’s own waste and purchased goods in the supply chain, etc.


3.2       The draft report analyses Belfast City Council’s Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and the potential measures that can be taken to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Local offset fund pdf icon PDF 246 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 inform Members about a proposal to map the opportunity to develop a Local Carbon Offset Fund. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to approve the proposal to map the opportunity to develop a Local Carbon Offset Fund.


3.0       Main report


3.1       NI has set an ambitious climate target of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050 and the Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024 includes a number of adaptation actions under key priority areas. Councils across NI have a key role to play in delivering of resilience and emission targets. According to the UK Committee on Climate Change, ‘more than half of the emissions cuts needed rely on people and businesses taking up low-carbon solutions – decisions that are made at a local and individual level. Many of these decisions depend on having supporting infrastructure and systems in place. Local authorities have powers or influence over roughly a third of emissions in their local areas’.


            Moreover, a recent report Accelerating Net Zero Delivery demonstrates the economic and social value of locally tailored approaches. Councils are the closest level of government to communities, workers, suppliers and consumers and are well placed to deliver holistic, tangible, large scale climate solutions. However, implementing this ambition is challenging for councils due to resource limitations and capacity constraints.


3.2       The public sector can’t deliver the volume of funds required to deliver Net Zero commitments, new funding and revenue models are needed to deliver at scale and at pace. Belfast City Council (BCC) has been working in partnership with PCAN and the Grantham Institute, LSE and the UKCICC to better understand how it can mobilise the necessary finance to decarbonise heat, transport and industry across the City as well as support investments in resilience measures.


            At the same time, many organisations across NI have set ambitious net zero targets. Whilst these will mostly be delivered through emission reductions, it is likely that most organisations will need to off-set the emissions they cannot avoid or reduce by paying for a carbon credit, which allows them to pay for an equivalent amount of emissions to be reduced or removed elsewhere. Most off-setting projects are located in developing countries but there is anecdotal evidence that there is an appetite among NI companies to off-set their emissions via local projects.


3.3       This project would be a collaborative exercise between Belfast City Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Ards and North Down Council, and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.


            Working in partnership, these Councils have identified a need to carry out a desktop review to quantify the opportunity for establishing a regional Carbon Offset Fund that could be used to finance a pipeline of climate investments across NI. These could range from investments in energy efficiency,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Belfast Fairtrade Update pdf icon PDF 492 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 and seek approval from Members for the installation of new ‘Belfast is a Fairtrade City’ signage at various locations across the city and to update members on the planned actions of the Belfast Fairtrade Steering Group to mark World Fairtrade Day on Saturday 14th May.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to approve the installation of the ‘Belfast is a Fairtrade City’ signage and to note the update for the Belfast Fairtrade Steering Groups plans to mark World Fairtrade Day on Saturday 14th May.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Belfast has held the Fairtrade City status from the UK Fairtrade Foundation since 2005 and was the first city to gain dual Fairtrade accreditation when receiving Fairtrade City status from Fairtrade Ireland also in 2006. 


3.2       The City & Organisational Strategy Department leads the maintenance of Belfast’s Fairtrade City status. The department supports the Belfast Fairtrade Steering Group, a group co-Chaired by Council Members, Cllr Donal Lyons and Cllr Ross McMullan with representation from Council and the business, voluntary and community sectors. The Steering Group is responsible for maintaining Belfast’s Fairtrade City status through continued promotion and awareness of Fairtrade. The group is for all those interested in trade justice and international development through Fairtrade and membership is open to the public. The Group meets approximately every two months to discuss ways to advance Fairtrade in Belfast and to support group members tin achieving this.


3.3       ‘Belfast is a Fairtrade City’ signage


            Fairtrade City status is conferred by the Fairtrade Foundation on a biennial basis. It is awarded after the completion of a comprehensive audit of Fairtrade outlets in the city, and after undertaking considerable marketing and promotional activities by the Belfast Fairtrade Steering Group. Belfast was granted this city status in 2005 and biannually since. The Fairtrade certificates awarded are displayed in the Lord Mayors office.


3.4       The marketing and promotion of Fairtrade activity in the city is key to retaining Fairtrade City status. The Fairtrade Foundation recommend the display of one of the approved formats or logo’s for each Fairtrade Town, City or Borough that has achieved this accolade. This is standard practice across the UK and Ireland and has been adopted in Northern Ireland by seven other Local Authorities with two more progressing on this action and will be joined soon after by the final Council authority in NI to receive Fairtrade status once application is approved in the coming weeks. 


3.5       Fairtrade City signage erected in a prominent place recognises the City’s endeavours in promoting the global campaign of increasing Fairtrade products. Fairtrade is the gold standard of ethical labelling and can only appear on products from the developing world. Fairtrade is a local ethical consumerism led by cross community, public/private sector demand and statutory obligations: UN Sustainable Development Goals, which falls to each council under sustainability. Fairtrade alleviates poverty, tackles global issues and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Belfast Net Zero Carbon Road Map pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee agreed to defer until its next meeting consideration of a report on the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Road Map.



Recap on suggestions for future meetings


The Resilience Co-ordinator updated the Members on the list of actions from previous meetings and confirmed that Climate Emergency Training for the Members had been scheduled for Saturday 3 September.


The Policy, Research and Compliance Officer provided the Members with an update on the invitation which had been sent by the Chief Executive to the Shared Island Unit further to a Notion of Motion.  The officer advised that the Shared Island Unit had confirmed that it was available to attend the Committee in June to give a presentation.


The Committee approved an invitation to be sent to the Shared Island Unit to attend the June meeting.