Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Mr. Gareth Graham - Democratic Services Assistant 

No. Item




            Apologies were reported on behalf of the High Sheriff, Councillor S. Douglas and Councillors Doherty, Kelly and Long.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 218 KB


            The minutes of the meeting of 8th February were taken as read and signed as correct.



Declarations of Interest


            No Declarations of Interest were reported.



Restricted Item


            The information contained in the reports associated with the following item 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 item as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


            The Members were also reminded that the content of ‘restricted’ reports and any discussion which took place during closed session must be treated as ‘confidential information’ and that no such information should be disclosed to the public as per Paragraph 4.15 of the Code of Conduct.  



Presentation from Living with Water (LLW) Team Re: proposed changes to the LLW programme - Presentation by Simon Richardson and Stuart Wightman.


            The Committee considered a report and associated presentation from the Living with Water Team in relation to a review process which was currently underway on the Strategic Drainage Infrastructure for Belfast and which was being undertaken due to affordability issues.


            After discussion, the Committee noted the presentation regarding the review of the LWW programme which was currently underway.



Update on Heat Network - (Debbie Caldwell) pdf icon PDF 141 KB


The Climate Commissioner provided the Members with an update on the market engagement to date on a potential heat network in Belfast. She referred to work undertaken with institutional investors, heat developers and other councils as part of that process.


            The Members were informed that Belfast, with its density of buildings, was ideally suited to the introduction of a heat network which formed a key part of the local energy plan, alongside the retro-fit of buildings, as part of the Council’s net-zero carbon ambitions.


            The Climate Commissioner reported that a Heat Network Working Group had been established to inform the development of the Council’s approach to incentivising the development of a heat network in Belfast, and that the Group would be encouraging public sector bodies, which owned buildings in the city with a high heat demand, to engage in discussions and market engagement as potential heat off-takers.


            The Committee was informed that it was proposed to appoint a commercial and legal advisor to support the market engagement process, including the appointment of a technical advisor to support the market engagement and the provision of advice on technical requirements, subject to the approval of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.


            The Climate Commissioner provided the Members with an overview of the key elements associated with a heat network. She outlined measures to increase the viability of heat networks, including the introduction of waste heat into the heat production process, and the installation of a direct wire to alternative off-grid sources of energy.


            The Committee was informed of the importance attached to securing off-taker heat agreements to encourage investment in heat network schemes and provided the Members with a range of delivery models for heat networks, which could be incorporated as part of any future delivery scheme. It was reported that early market engagement with heat developers had suggested that there was strong private sector interest to invest in heat networks with the provision of lands for the development of an energy centre, provision of grant finance and an available source of waste heat energy, as being strong support structures as part of the heat network development process. The Climate Commissioner reported on some of the barriers in place currently to the creation of viable heat networks in Northern Ireland, namely, the fact that there was currently no financial support available for heat-network schemes and no regulatory system in place.


            The Climate Commissioner reported that the £150,000 secured from the Innovate UK Project – Belfast Net-Zero Pathfinder project, was instrumental in securing business funding analysis, including commercial and legal assistance to develop and secure commercial contractual arrangements in the absence of statutory regulation.


            The Committee was informed that it was important to establish the heat demand requirements prior to the establishment of a series of round table discussions, with relevant parties invited to attend, including off-takers, investors and industry representatives.


            In response to a request from a Member, the Climate Commissioner agreed to invite representatives from other authorities who had developed successful  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Innovate UK Project - Belfast Net Zero Pathfinder - (Debbie Caldwell) pdf icon PDF 134 KB


The Climate Commissioner welcomed the securing of £150,000 from the Innovate UK Net-Zero Living Pathfinder competition which would help the delivery of two key priority projects, namely, the city’s Local Area Energy Plan (LAEP) and the decarbonisation plan for Queens Island (QIDP).


            The Committee was informed that the strategic energy masterplans provided a whole energy system approach, including recommendations for decarbonisation pathway planning. The Climate Commissioner explained that the projects built on the outcomes of the Belfast phase 1 pathfinder feasibility study, and would  support a whole systems approach to the transition of the city to net-zero.


            The Members were informed that the project would focus on overcoming the non-technical barriers in regard to the delivery of the two decarbonisation projects identified in the LAEP and QIDP, and  focussed specifically on the heat network and solar pv projects. The Climate Commissioner reported that by accelerating and de-risking the delivery of two decarbonisation projects identified in the LAEP and QIDP, the projects would assist the Council and its partners to reduce emissions from the City’s built environment, which was the largest source of emissions within the city .


            The Climate Commissioner agreed to bring an update to a future meeting of the Committee on the progress made on delivery of the projects, which was being undertaken in partnership with Energy Systems Catapult, with a scheduled project commencement date of 1st June 2024.





Issue Raised In Advance


Presentation on a vision for the Connswater Community Greenway


            At the request from Councillor R. Brooks, the Committee agreed to receive at a future meeting a presentation from Eastside Greenways entitled Climate and Nature Action - A Vision for the Connswater Community Greenway.