Agenda item


            The Chairperson welcomed Mr Ian Campbell, Director of Service Operations at Translink, to the meeting.  Mr Campbell thanked the chairperson and addressed the Committee meeting highlighting that the purpose of the presentation was to highlight Translink’s plans for decarbonising public transport in Northern Ireland.  He advised the members of the Committee that there were a number of reasons why transport must be decarbonised; these included the climate crisis, the energy consumption of the current fleet, the health impact of poor air quality and economic drivers to meet the current cost of living crisis – public transport provided an affordable option for the public.  He advised them that the public transport levels were back up to 85% of the pre covid delivery.  He went on to outline what the modal shift to public transport (people choosing to give up their cars) along with decarbonisation would mean for Northern Ireland in terms of support for a number of common strategies the decreased emissions targets, supported the agenda for doing more with less of our natural resources and supporting the green growth economy by creating green jobs in green technology infrastructure and fleet.  He said that Translink worked collaboratively to support the Green agenda and they played an active role in the Climate commission.


            Mr Campbell outlined Translink’s plans to reach zero emission targets as set out in their climate positive strategy.  He explained their phased approach from the pilot of 3 Hydrogen buses that went live in December 2020 to the 80 Electric buses and 20 Hydrogen for Belfast which went live in March 2022.  He advised  the Committee that the current phase was incorporating a new Foyle Metro Electric Fleet and that would go live in Summer 2023.  Phase 3 was for 100 electric buses for Ulster Bus and Metro and he said it was planned that these would go live in August 2024.  He added that Translink had created 2 green electric vehicle charging points at Milewater Road and the bus depot in the Short Strand.  He went on to outline how their changes had impacted their carbon emissions explaining that Belfast had the 4th largest zero emissions bus fleet in the UK and Ireland.


            He said that rail was a bit more challenging but they did see the value in investing in the rail service and said they were undertaking a detailed feasibility study to look at electrifying the rail network in Northern Ireland. He highlighted the collaborative working between the governments and SEUPB.  He concluded his presentation by highlighting what was needed to ensure their work towards zero emissions was successful, these included support form local and central government to ensure the modal shift required along with the other steps outlined. 


The Chairperson thanked Mr Campbell for his comprehensive presentation. 


A member asked Mr Campbell how funding cuts would impact the work going forward.  He said that it was given Translink real challenges, but they were working with the Departments who had been supportive and wanted to see this work progress.  They had made significant efficiency savings in recent years and were continuing to look at areas of cost saving.  Members also raised concerns around the service provision in areas of the city that fell outside the Metro service and asked how they could ensure their views were captured.  Mr Bannon highlighted that the process Translink used to ensure service provision was adequate and viable in the various sectors of the city and said there was a monthly service meeting to review requests.  He added that he would be happy to attend a future meeting of the City Growth and Regeneration committee to feed back on the outcomes.  The Chairperson also suggested that it might be worth inviting Translink to the member’s area working group to deal with the matter there also. 


After discussion the Committee noted the contents of the presentation.


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