Agenda and minutes

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




            An apology was reported on behalf of Councillor Flynn.





            The minutes of the meeting of 11th August were taken as read and signed as correct.  Members noted that these minutes had been adopted at September’s Council meeting with the following addition - under the heading “Priorities during Covid Recovery – Verbal Update”, the Council agreed that a report be submitted to the Committee providing an update on the work which has been undertaken by the Heads of Service Group of Environmental Health on the resumption/reinstatement of services.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were recorded.





NIHE Annual Housing Investment Plan Update pdf icon PDF 456 KB


            The Committee was informed that representatives of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive were in attendance remotely to provide the Committee with its first annual update in respect of the 2019-2023 Housing Investment Plan for Belfast. 


            Accordingly, Mr. C. Bailie, Chief Executive, together with Mr. A. Hannaway, Deputy Regional Manager, and Ms. R. Taylor, Acting Head of Place Shaping (Belfast), were welcomed to the meeting.


            Mr. Bailie submitted for the Committee’s consideration the Belfast Housing Investment Plan 2020, which reported on the Housing Executive’s progress over the previous twelve months and presented its programmes for the coming year.  He explained that the plan was aligned to the outcomes of each Community Plan to show how the Housing Executive planned to support the work of the Council.  He detailed that it reflected four high level outcomes, as identified by the Housing Executive, namely, helping people to find housing support and solutions, delivering new and better homes, fostering vibrant sustainable neighbourhoods and delivering quality public services.


            Mr Bailie then drew the Members’ attention to the following key issues for Belfast, which had been identified within the Plan during 2019/20:


·         there were 10,819 applicants on the waiting list, with 8,143 of those in housing stress;


·         5,270 households presented as homeless between March 2019 and March 2020;


·         the Housing Executive made 1,664 placements into  temporary accommodation in the city;


·         319 new social homes had been completed in Belfast and 975 units were on-site at 31st March 2020, 328 of which started in the last year; and


·         the five-year assessment for 2019-24 showed a need for 4,778 additional social units in the city.


            Mr. Bailie also drew the Members’ attention to the long-term Tower Block Strategy as follows:


5 Year Life

6-10 Year Life

10+ Year Life


Mount Vernon






























            A number of other key housing issues were also identified, issues around chronic homelessness, land availability, the continued growth of the private rented sector, affordable housing/City centre opportunities, the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.


            Mr. Bailie advised that the Covid-19 outbreak had made it necessary for the Housing Executive to make changes to the way it delivered its services, to ensure that both its customers and staff were protected whilst continuing to ensure that key essential services were maintained.  He explained that the Housing Executive had originally intended to deliver investment of £227 million across all improvement and maintenance activities in its stock in 2020/21, however, as a direct result of the ongoing pandemic, other than emergency situations and the undertaking of statutory inspections and servicing, these activities had been suspended in late March 2020. 


            Mr. Bailie concluded by confirming that the Housing Executive would regularly monitor progress against the objectives set out within the Housing Investment Plan and would report to the Council on an annual basis, however, advised that he would be retiring within the next year. 


            In response to a number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3a




            The information contained in the reports associated with the following 4 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 Committee meeting during discussion on the following 4 items as, due to their nature, 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.



Finance Update

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, the Strategic Policy and Resources at its meeting on 31st July, had received an update on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s financial position and a strategy to address the forecast deficit and the mitigation measures, which had and would be taken as the situation evolved.  It had agreed to continue to provide Members with a monthly update on the financial position and that the same report would be presented to the subsequent standing Committees for noting and to provide further information on ongoing work in the following areas: 


1.      Updated forecasts


2.      The financial impact of recovery plans


3.      The financial impact of the member agreed decision to invoice rents for all tenants from Quarter 2


4.      Employee savings arising from the review of vacant posts


            The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee had also agreed at its July Committee meeting to receive the Quarter 1 financial report in August.  Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the quarterly finance reports to Committee incorporated both the quarterly financial performance and the year-end forecasts.  With the requirement for monthly forecast updates as part of the financial strategy agreed with Members in June, the Quarter 1 finance report had also been included as an appendix to this report rather than a separate report, providing a comprehensive overview of the overall financial position in one report.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised the Members that, as updated at the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee at its July meeting, further funding from the Department for Communities (DfC) had been predicted through the local Council Community Support Fund to support the COVID-19 response.  The Members were reminded that had been agreed, also at this meeting, that it would be allocated to the Micro Grant Scheme.  The Director advised that the Council was now in receipt of the letter of offer and the amount allocated to Belfast was significantly more than had been anticipated, a further £485,700 of funding was to be released to Belfast to support communities in the COVID-19 response, with the same general themes as before food, connectivity and finance.  He advised that, whilst a percentage of this funding would be allocated to the Micro Grant Scheme, officers now intended to submit to the October People and Communities Committee a more detailed report, which would include proposals in relation to the additional funding.  In the meantime, officers would engage with the relevant community and voluntary stakeholders in respect of the proposals.


            Additionally, he also advised that DfC were in the process of providing further financial assistance which was to be ring fenced to two work programmes around Financial Inclusion and Access to Food, the Council was currently exploring how this funding could be delivered/allocated. 


            The Committee:

·         noted the contents of the report, including the August forecast update and Quarter 1 finance report; and

·         noted that an update report would be submitted to the October People and Communities Committee which would provide further proposals in respect of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4a


Update Report 'Wild Lights' Show - Botanic Gardens December


The Committee was reminded that, at the July Council meeting, it had been agreed that the decision of the Chief Executive of 9th June, under the heading “‘Wild Light’s Show’ – Botanic Gardens, December 2020 – January 2021”, be amended to provide that an environmental assessment be carried out before the September 2020 meeting of the People and Communities Committee and reported back to Committee.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised that the decision taken had been communicated to the applicant, who had subsequently advised that the request had created potential operational and contractual difficulties and as a result the organisers had decided to cancel the event for 2020.


            Officers reported that they would continue to liaise with the applicant to try and resolve any difficulties for future years.





Request for the use of Ormeau Park - Ballynafeigh Apprentice Boys Flute Band


The Committee noted a request from Ballynafeigh Apprentice Boys Flute Band Cultural Day at Ormeau Park on Saturday 26th September 2020, subject to completion of the Council’s Open Spaces and Activing Living processes.


            It also noted that, due to the current Covid-19 Regulations, the Council required the event organisers:


·         to complete an event management plan and risk assessment for the associated activities to ensure effective and safe delivery of the event and to ensure compliance with current legislation and Northern Ireland Executive guidance. This would include adherence to any conditions around the maximum number of people to be gathered at any one time and social distancing requirements; and

·         to confirm that they would have a nominated individual who would gather the contact details of all attendees which would be made available if track and trace was required.



Waste Collection Update

Additional documents:


            (Mr. J. McConnell, City Services Manager (Resources and Fleet), attended in connection with this item).


            The Director of City Services submitted a report, which provided an update for the Committee in respect of the current position concerning the waste collection service.


            The Director reminded the Members that, the People and Communities Committee at its meeting on 5th March, had considered a report in respect of ongoing service issues.  She continued that, as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the planned initiatives had been temporarily set aside to enable efforts to be concentrated on restoring and delivering the core functions and services of Waste Collections and Waste Management in the current environment of restricted resources and finances.  She explained that, it was now envisaged, subject to approval, that the proposed improvement activities could be incorporated with the resumption of the Fleet and Resources Transition and Improvement Programme, subject to additional resources being made available.


            The City Services Manager then provided the Committee with a comprehensive overview and update in respect of recovery of the services as follows:

·         25th March – restriction to black bin general waste only;

·         30th March – reintroduction of brown bin collections for food and organic waste;

·         31st March – reintroduction of blue bin collections for dry recyclables;

·         6th April – reintroduction of Commercial Waste Services;

·         27th April – reintroduction of Kerbside Box Pilot collections;

·         11th May – reintroduction of Glass Pilot collections;

·         18th May – reopening of 4 main HRCs;

·         8th June – restoration of Bulky Waste Collections;

·         12th June – reopening of Automated Public Conveniences;

·         1st July – partial restoration of graffiti removal (PBNI partnership suspended);

·         17th August – phased reopening of City Centre Public Conveniences;

·          7th September – resumption of contracted Doorstep Asbestos Collection;

·         September 2020 – planned resumption of Abandoned Vehicles Recovery Service; and

·         TBC - Civic Amenity Sites.

            The Committee noted that the level of domestic waste presented in bins had shown significant increases year on year and it had seen a substantial increase over ‘lockdown’.  In simplest terms, in relation to all waste streams, in 4 months, Resources and Fleet had collected in the region of 3806 tonnes of additional waste compared to same period last year. This equated to approximately 406 additional full refuse collection vehicles over the 17 week period (approx. 24 full lorries per week). The additional workload had been absorbed.


            In terms of commercial waste arrangements, as businesses across the city had started to reopen, commercial waste collections had been flexible to meet the changing needs and requirement of the customers.


            The Committee noted that Bryson House had also experienced significantly more household waste at the kerbside as a result of more people being at home.


            Following a recent meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, the Committee also received an update in respect of the Bryson Kerbside Collection Contract Extension.  It noted that officers in Resources and Fleet had commenced the process of sourcing independent expertise on waste collections, this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Matters referred back from the Council/Motions


Residents' Parking Schemes pdf icon PDF 159 KB


            The Committee was reminded that at the Council meeting on 1st September, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Black and seconded by Councillor McLaughlin, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f) been referred to the Committee for consideration:


“This Council recognises the recent changes in commuter travel patterns, including a greater emphasis on connectivity particularly for cycling and walking.


However, this Council is mindful that such changes are a result of decreased traffic volumes due to working from home and are likely to rise again with full re-opening, returns to work and education.


Daily issues facing city centre surrounding communities related to excessive parking levels and dangerous practices remain and are increasing to a pre-lockdown hazardous level.


This issue is prevalent in city centre surrounding communities and causes documented operational problems related to cleansing, access for emergency services, road safety for families, street layout, pedestrian access, connectivity, road and pavement surfacing, air quality and daily life.


Belfast City Council, in line with the Belfast Agenda’s commitments related to good health and wellbeing, vibrancy, attractiveness and connectivity, must influence action to find realistic solutions to support densely populated urban residential communities.


Flexibility and dynamism have been illustrated during the pandemic related to connectivity. This same level of expediency must be implemented to target this historical and highly contentious problem.


As such this Council agrees to write to the Department for Infrastructure to invite representatives to attend the People and Communities Committee and to advance Residents’ parking schemes in urban affected communities”.


            The proposer of the motion Councillor Black addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion.


            With the permission of the Chairperson, Alderman Dorrian also addressed the Committee in support of the motion.


            The Committee agreed that the Council would write to the Department for Infrastructure inviting representatives to attend a future meeting of the People and Communities Committee to discuss the advancement of Residents’ parking schemes in urban affected communities.



Alleygating Programme pdf icon PDF 157 KB


            The Committee was reminded that at the Council meeting on 1st September, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor McKeown and seconded by Councillor de Faoite, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f) been referred to the Committee for consideration:


“Belfast City Council:


Recognises that the COVID-19 crisis has allowed local communities to develop a greater appreciation of open and green spaces throughout the city and commends those residents who have taken an active role in improving those spaces in their local area, providing an opportunity for their community to enjoy fresh air, activity and socially distanced interaction during the difficult months of lockdown;


Resolves that the Council should do all that it can to support residents and local communities who are proactive in seeking to improve and regenerate open and green spaces in their area.


Believes that, although a review of phases 1-4 of the alleygating programme was agreed earlier this year, the new context of Coronavirus gives cause to reprioritise both our approach to the allocation of alleygates and how a new alleygating programme should be funded.


Determines that a new funded alleygating programme is included as part of Council’s Recovery Plan, recognising the intrinsic benefit and popularity of existing alleygating programmes.


Agrees that this new alleygating programme, when determining eligible streets, should give equal consideration and scoring to the efforts of communities to develop and maintain their alleyways as is currently given to crime-reduction and anti-social behaviour concerns.”


            With the permission of the Chairperson, Councillor McKeown, proposer of the motion, addressed the Committee and outlined the context of his Motion which was to try and progress to a new funded alleygating programme.


            Several other Members spoke in support of the motion. 


            Following a query by a Member, the Director of City Services confirmed that capital funding for any potential future scheme was the responsibility of the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, which firstly had to agree whether it wished to commence a new programme in the context of any discussion around future  capital programs .  It was further highlighted that there was a number of other outstanding Motions relating to alleygates/alleyways.  Following discussion, it was agreed that the Motion needed to be considered generically along with the other Motions. 


            The Committee agreed that a comprehensive report on Alleygates and Alleyways be submitted to a future meeting, which would consider previous Motions along with the financial resources available and reference any potential external funding opportunities.



Committee/Strategic Issues


Air Quality Update Report pdf icon PDF 359 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       Members will recall that at the People and Communities Committee meeting of 3rd March 2020, a paper was presented that provided an overview of preparations and progress at that time towards development of a new Air Quality Action Plan for the city, along with technical and other information relating to a proposed detailed assessment to be undertaken for the city for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).


1.2       This report serves to provide an update to the Committee on progress with both of these projects over the intervening time (within the Covid Pandemic) and to provide an overview of the outcome of the Belfast City Council Air Quality Progress Report 2020.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         note contents of this update report.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1.1     Air Quality Action Plan.


            Members will be aware that the Council’s current Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2020. With this in mind, officers have commenced engagement with a range of government Departments, the Public Health Agency, local public transport providers, the Port of Belfast and sustainable environment and transport organisations in order to begin development of a new Air Quality Action Plan for implementation from April 2020. The focus of the new Air Quality Action Plan will be to address the few remaining nitrogen dioxide (NO2) hotspots across the city, associated principally with road transport emissions and to improve ambient air quality generally for the city.  


3.1.2     To assist in development of the new Air Quality Action Plan, an Air Quality Steering Group has been convened and ‘Terms of Reference’ have been established for both the Group and for development of the new Plan. The Terms of Reference have been designed to ensure that the new Air Quality Action Plan contributes appropriately to the various ambient air quality outcomes detailed within the ‘Belfast Agenda – Your Future City’ community plan, as well as linking to the Programme for Government ‘Indicator 37: Improve air quality’, where the lead measure is ‘concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2)’. In addition, the Terms of Reference highlight that the Council’s Living Here Board oversees delivery of the ‘Living Here’ component of the Belfast Agenda community plan and that the ‘Living Here’ work stream to ‘Maximise the benefit of our natural and built environment’ includes a commitment to delivery of the city’s Air Quality Action Plan(s).


3.1.3     As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Steering Group meetings to date have been delivered online. The next meeting of the Steering Group is scheduled for 7th September 2020, where Steering Group members have been invited to bring forward mitigation measures on behalf of their organisations for inclusion in the new Action Plan to address the remaining nitrogen dioxide ‘hot spot’ areas across  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a


Affordable Warmth pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Additional documents:


            (Mr. I. Harper, Building Control Manager, attended in connection with this item).


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


 1.1      Belfast City Council has been engaged in a partnership with the Department for Communities (DfC) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) in the delivery of the Affordable Warmth Scheme (AWS) since 2014.


1.2       The scheme aims to address fuel poverty for the most vulnerable households in the city by targeting those households that meet certain criteria, as identified by Ulster University to provide home improvement measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation, replacement boilers and new double glazed windows. While it is a targeted scheme, self-referrals are also considered. To qualify for the scheme occupant’s income must be below £20,000 (gross).


1.3       The purpose of this report is to give Members an update on the AWS, and outline a request from DfC regarding Belfast City Council’s ongoing commitment to the scheme.


Key issue: DfC request


1.4       Following the update report to Members in June there have been ongoing communications between DfC and councils regarding the scheme and resuming operations as lockdown eases.  David Polley, DfC Director for Housing Supply Policy, wrote to councils on 14th August requesting that councils confirm their commitment to working on the scheme by 21st August 2020, based upon certain conditions.  While no Service Level Agreement has been provided, the conditions for ongoing participation for councils (which Belfast City Council has concerns with) are as follows:


·         They have confirmed scheme funding for 2020-2021of £12M (across NI).

·         They have set a revised referral target of 44 referrals per month for BCC

·         They will continue with the payment per referral model

·         They suggest reducing the targeted ratio to 60:40


1.5       BCC and other councils have continued to outline the ongoing issues with the funding model, changing operations due to COVID-19, and the targeted approach.  DfC requested on 17th July that councils move to provide 44 referrals from 1st August, on a pay per referral basis. This funding model provides no certainty for councils.  With only one member of staff employed to work on the AWS, this target cannot be met without recruiting additional staff.  Councils have made DfC aware that recruitment would need to take place, and therefore a lead in time required.  However, with payment per referral, councils would recruit staff with no guarantee of funding to cover the staffing costs, and then bear all the risks if referrals cannot be successfully made.  Therefore, it is essential that DfC commit to a guaranteed level of funding to give councils certainty.


1.6       A further relaxation on the targeted approach is also needed to allow self-referrals for residents in need to be processed.


1.7       DfC have made note of a Service Level agreement, but are awaiting feedback from councils before this is released.  The full detail should be provided in an SLA for councils to consider.


1.8       SOLACE met on 17th August and discussed this letter.  They have written  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7b


Update - Proposal to have regular health breifings to the P&C Committee pdf icon PDF 253 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a report that referred to a number of Notice of Motions that had previously been submitted to Committee on issues such as drug and alcohol misuse, mental health and suicide and homelessness.  The Committee was reminded that a report had been submitted to the People and Committees Committee, at its meeting held on 3rd December 2019, where it had been agreed that officers would engage with the ‘health family,’  the Public Health Authority (PHA), Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT), to establish if a bi-annual written ‘health briefing’ could be submitted to the People and Communities Committee, this would outline the latest statistics in relation to the aforementioned issues and also highlight the work being undertaken to address priorities and emerging needs at a local level. 


            The Committee was advised that officers had subsequently met with representatives from the PHA, HSCB, BHSCT and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).  At this meeting a draft-reporting template had been circulated to aid discussion and the views of representatives had been sought on whether they felt their organisations would be able to provide information/participate in providing health briefings to People and Communities Committee on a bi-annual basis.


            The Committee noted that potential information suggested for inclusion within the template had included the following:


·         current waiting list timeframes i.e. referral to first appointment for Drug and Alcohol Services (Statutory Community Addiction Team, Substitute Prescribing Team, PHA-funded Adult Step 2 Service, PHA-funded Youth Treatment Service) and Mental Health Services (Community Mental Health Team and average for PHA-funded MH Services);

·         numbers of (suspected) drug related deaths in-year to date (inc. geographical breakdown);

·         numbers of deaths by suicide in-year [SD1 figures] to date (inc. geographical breakdown);

·         notable trends and issues/areas of concern in relation to above;

·         prescribing data/NSES data;

·         homelessness figures;

·         brief update on work of key services directly supporting most vulnerable;

·         brief update on work of key partnerships;

·         key actions/initiatives planned for next/upcoming 6-month period; and

·         key messages/asks for Elected Members – how could they support.


            At the meeting, most of the representatives in attendance, had not felt that there would be any benefit in providing regular updates to the Committee and they agreed to discuss this further internally with their own management.


            The PHA had subsequently confirmed that ‘neither the HSCB nor the PHA would be in a position to provide written reports on the range of datasets requested.’  Furthermore, the letter had also outlined that Council officers were members of a number of health-focussed partnerships and structures and therefore recommend that ‘Council staff at an appropriate level continue to engage in such discussions and consequently feed back to your Elected Representatives as appropriate through the relevant Council committee structure.’


            The Members considered the response and agreed that, in an attempt to avoid duplication of work, the most effective way of progressing the outstanding and ongoing health issues in respect of drug and alcohol misuse, mental health and suicide and homelessness was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7c


Discussion Document on the "Future Recycling and Separate Collection of Waste of a Household Nature in Northern Ireland" pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            To notify Committee of the current discussion document on the ‘Future Recycling and Separate Collection of Waste of a Household Nature in Northern Ireland’ and to present the draft Belfast City Council response to the document.


1.2       The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) is seeking views on a public discussion document on the ‘Future Recycling and Separation of Waste of a Household Nature in Northern Ireland’.


1.3       The document sets out the current position of recycling in Northern Ireland, and the regulatory, climate change and market drivers that will influence policy in the future. It seeks views on a range of proposals, which will help shape the landscape of waste management in Northern Ireland.


1.4       Over the next year, there will be an introduction of a range of new requirements relating to the management of waste as part of the Circular Economy Package.  This includes requirements around recycling and the separate collection of waste. 


1.5       In particular, businesses who produce mixed waste and waste which is similar in nature and composition to waste from households will be required present their waste for recycling.  As with households, businesses will be required to facilitate the separate collection of the main household waste streams such as paper, metal, plastic and glass.  These measures do not extend to waste resulting from production.


            This discussion document as stated by DAERA does not introduce any new policies (at this stage), but rather seeks views on steps towards improving the quality and quantity of household and non-household recyclate in Northern Ireland whilst having minimal impact on businesses and householders.


1.6       The proposals presented within the document are separated into various sections covering a range of topics that DAERA would like to receive views on. Given the large number of questions posed, which cover a wide range of issues and stakeholders, respondees are encouraged to complete the sections in the response that are of interest or relevance to them.


1.7       The Discussion Document should be read in conjunction with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) report on Municipal Recycling Potential in Northern Ireland 2020


            The Consultation opened on 26 June 2020. The closing date is 04 October 2020.


            During August and September 2020, DAERA have been arranging a series of virtual workshops aimed at different sectors affected by the proposals, including businesses and local authorities. These workshops, facilitated by WRAP and NILGA, included a targeted session for key elected members (on 27th August 2020) to provide a strategic overview of all proposals within the document.


1.9       Belfast City Council Waste Officers have drafted up responses to the questions posed within the discussion document.


1.10      Arc21 will also be drafting up a separate response to the Consultation. Given there is such a range of waste collection methodologies across the arc21 region, it is likely that the arc21 response will focus on the objectives and issues needing addressed, in order to support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7d


Community Response - Closing Report pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       Council had produced two previous summary reports outlining the activity and achievements undertaken as a result of funding made available (via Council/DfC) to local community and voluntary groups  as well as the development of Belfast City Council’s Covid 19 Community Response Hub (food distribution, helpline, contact centre and area support). 


1.2       Given that committees were not meeting at this time these previous reports were presented to Party Group Leaders before being shared with stakeholders inside and outside of the organisation.


1.3       Council officers have now produced a closing report which details all of the significant outputs and outcomes achieved by Council and its statutory and community and voluntary partners in terms of leading on the Covid 19 response efforts in Belfast during the 16 week period (Apr-Jul 2020).


1.4       The report itself is included as an Appendix – available here and will be promoted and circulated widely internally & externally with our partners as a formal acknowledgement to all that was achieved collectively and how we intend to build on that going forward.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The committee is asked to


·         Note the content of the report.


3.0       Main report


            BCC Community Response Hub


3.1       31 March 2020 – Department for Communities requested that each Council develops a local response hub.  By the 8th April 2020, Belfast City Council’s helpline is live and the food distribution hub based within the Ulster Hall is making its first food parcel deliveries to Belfast residents.  Staff from across Council were redeployed to work in the distribution hub, the contact centre and in the North, South, East and West area teams to link residents in with relevant and timely support services available close to them.  And organisations such as SOS Bus and Red Cross to name but a few assisted us in delivering the food parcels.


            VCSE Response and Council Funding to Support Local Efforts


3.2       At the same time community and voluntary groups had already mobilised and were leading the local response efforts.  Council was able to provide £120k emergency response funding to 9 strategic C&V partners at an early stage, followed by a further £635k a few weeks later which enabled these groups to expand their services and reach more and more residents in need of help and support.  An additional £210k was awarded to 12 organisations providing support at a thematic level e.g. mental health, domestic violence, LGBT needs, etc.


            Key Achievements during the 16-week Period (report itself goes into more detail)


·         107,407 food parcels and hot meals were delivered to Belfast residents (50,533 via Council’s hub and 56,874 via funded VCSE partners).

·         9,770 calls were handled by the BCC Helpline/contact centre whilst local C&V Helplines handled a further 5,115 calls.

·         9,320 deliveries or prescription pick-ups were made on behalf of residents.

·         1,273 resilience packs were provided.


            Recovery Phase


3.4       As lockdown restrictions eased, Council and its statutory and VCSE partners shifted focus to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7e


2020 Plastic Packaging Tax Consultation pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To provide the Committee with an update on HMRCs Plastic Packaging Tax and to present the arc21 draft response to the proposals.


1.2       From April 2022, the Plastic Packaging Tax will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in or imported into the UK containing less than 30% recycled plastic.


1.3       At Budget 2020, the government announced key decisions it had taken for the design of Plastic Packaging Tax in light of stakeholder responses to the previous consultation in 2019. This latest consultation provides more information on these announced areas, as well as asking for views on areas of the tax design which have been further refined as we move closer to the implementation date.


1.4       The responses to the government’s Call for Evidence on single-use plastic waste in 2018 highlighted that using recycled plastic is often more expensive than using new plastic. At Budget 2018, the government proposed to use a new tax to encourage the use of recycled plastic and has taken the responses from the first consultation, published in 2019, into consideration to develop the latest proposals.


1.5       The tax will apply to packaging which is less than 30% recycled plastic and will be paid by the ‘taxable person’ (whether the manufacturer or importer) above the de minimus threshold of 10 tonnes per year. The tax thresholds in terms of de minimus and plastic percentage are not part of this consultation.


1.6       The 2020 Plastic Packaging Tax Consultation sets out 35 separate actions for comment. The document takes the form of a series of questions and, where possible, the joint councils that form arc21 has provided response.


1.7       The Consultation opened on 11th March 2020, with an extended closing date of 20th August 2020.


1.8       Belfast City Council Officers contributed comments on the consultation to arc21. arc21 co-ordinated a response on behalf of its member councils.  The draft response was presented to the arc21 steering group on 18th August 2020 and the draft was submitted to HMRC.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         note the 2020 Plastic Packaging Tax consultation document; and


·         to note the joint Council response,  prepared by arc21, response to the consultation document.


            Main report


3.1       Building on the 2019 Plastic Packaging Tax Consultation this new document provides more information on these announced areas, as well as asking for views on areas of the tax design which have been further refined.




3.2       At Budget 2018, the government announced that it will introduce a world leading tax on plastic packaging from April 2022. The tax will encourage the use of recycled plastic instead of new plastic within packaging. It will create greater demand for recycled plastic, and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.


3.3       At Budget 2020, the government announced that Plastic Packaging Tax will apply at a rate of £200 per  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7f


Belfast one million trees programme pdf icon PDF 277 KB

Additional documents:


            (Ms. G. Long, Commissioner for Resilience, attended in connection with this item).


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1  In March 2019, Belfast City Council referred to Committee a motion by Cllr Heading with an ambition to plant one million trees in Belfast.  In June, the People and Communities Committee received a proposal from the Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group seeking Council support in coordinating an initiative, which would see one million trees planted over a 15-year period. The committee agreed to be lead partnership facilitator for the project, working with key stakeholders with a report to be brought back to a future Committee regarding next steps.


1.2  Separately, following citywide engagement on possible opportunities to build climate resilience across Belfast, the draft Resilience Strategy includes a recommendation to plant one million trees and for growth in afforestation and urban tree cover, over time.  This reflects the Committee on Climate Change recommendation that afforestation must play a critical role in building climate resilience across Northern Ireland.


1.3  Following the committee’s decision that BCC acts as a convenor, a steering group for the programme was established, with meetings chaired by the Commissioner for Resilience. Coordination is undertaken jointly by officers from the Resilience Team, and officers from City and Neighbourhood Services Department. The coordinating officers have also convened internal discussions with colleagues in the Planning Service, City Regeneration, the Strategic Hub and Physical Programmes to raise awareness of the proposal.


1.4  To date, officer involvement has focused on steering group coordination, acting as a broker between all stakeholders.  We have made good progress, and have arrived at a point where tree planning at scale can commence shortly, and Committee agreement on next steps is necessary.  This paper sets out this update, and makes a number of recommendations.  


2.0  Recommendations


2.1  Committee are asked to review progress to date and consider the recommended next steps, specifically:


·         Agree to continue Council coordination of the Belfast One Million Trees Programme with a progress report and next steps plan to be provided on a regular basis.

·         Authorise Council officers to review BCC sites with the aim of providing a number of pilot sites for tree planting using the process agreed by the One Million Trees Steering Group.

·         Endorse the principle of integrating the One Million Trees Programme into current, planned, and forthcoming BCC projects, including capture of data on previous planting.

·         Note that the Belfast One Million Trees Programme will deliver on aspects of the Council Climate Plan, in particular relating to adaptation planning which is ongoing through an adaptation subgroup of the Council Climate Plan Programme Board.


3.0  Main report


3.1  There are multiple objectives associated with a tree-planting programme at scale.  It will contribute to several Belfast Agenda priorities on sustainability, liveability and inclusive growth.  The Mini Stern, undertaken to inform a roadmap to decarbonise the city, concluded that Belfast will use up its carbon budget in nine years.  Tree planning at scale provides a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7g


Operational Issues


Belfast Healthy Cities - Contract Extension and Phase VII Application pdf icon PDF 286 KB

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            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       At the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 17th August 2018, Members approved an Expression of Interest for Belfast to participate in Phase VII of the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Healthy Cities Network.


1.2       Members also agreed at the meeting of the People and Communities Committee on 4th June 2019, that a review be undertaken of the City and Neighbourhood Services Department’s ongoing partnership agreements with a focus on alignment with the Belfast Agenda and value for money. Included within this review was the partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, who facilitate the city’s membership of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network.


1.3       Furthermore, at the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 21st February 2020, Members approved an extension of the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, until 30th September 2020 to allow for the submission of the application for Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and the completion of the partnership review with the Belfast Healthy Cities, including an initial period for the transition and implementation of recommendations from the review.


1.4       Progress on the above has been adversely impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with both areas of work having to be temporarily paused and timeframes revised to provide additional time for completion due to ongoing restrictions. This report outlines action taken in developing the Phase VII application and key priorities to be delivered during the Phase VII period. The report also sets out a revised timeframe for the completion of the partnership review with Belfast Healthy Cities and subsequent next steps.


1.5       Members are asked to endorse the attached application and approve a six month extension to the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, to allow for the completion of both the Phase VII application process and the partnership review.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         Note the content of the report;

·         Endorse the Phase VII application and identified priorities and recommend the Lord Mayor formally supports the application on behalf of the city;

·         Agree to receive a follow up report outlining the outcomes of the review of Council’s partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities; and

·         Agree to extend the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities to 31st March 2021.


3.0       Main report


Key Issues

3.1       Members approved the completion of an Expression of Interest for Belfast to re-designate as a WHO Healthy City and participate in Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network at the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 17th August 2018. The Expression of Interest letter was accepted by WHO and Belfast was invited to submit an application as a city that had been active in delivering on Phase VI themes.


3.2       The second stage of the application process involved the Lord Mayor hosting a workshop on 22nd November 2019 with key stakeholders in the city to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8a


Boxing Strategy Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 246 KB

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            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Committee that the Council had previously agreed to provide £200,000 in funding to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association Ulster Branch (IABA) in the current financial year for delivery of an agreed action plan which supported the Belfast Boxing Strategy and he then provided an update on the progress in relation to the agreement up to the end of June 2020.


            He explained that, in line with the Council’s objectives, the Belfast Boxing Strategy Steering Group had met quarterly.  The Steering Group was chaired by the Director of Neighbourhood Services and attended by Council officers, IABA officers and officials and Co. Antrim officials.


            The Committee was reminded that the Council had previously agreed a total of 37 Indicators with the IABA to monitor delivery of the programmes.  The Director reported that the IABA had been compliant with all the reporting matters.


            The Committee noted the progress update report regarding the IABA.



Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Recycling Centre Cuts - Councillor Baker


            Councillor Baker advised the Committee of ongoing problems in respect of residents of the Colin area not being able to use the Cutts recycling centre.  He explained that the Colin had previously been within the boundary of the old Lisburn City Council but had transferred (under the Review of Public Administration) to Belfast City Council and, despite the Cutts being the nearest recycling centre, the residents were no longer able to use it as the Colin area was now with Belfast City Council’s boundary.            


            The Committee agreed that a report would be submitted to a future meeting which would detail potential options, including costs, for Belfast City Council (BCC) to enter into a Service Level Agreement with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) in respect of the disposal of waste by residents of the Colin area of Belfast at the Cutts Recycling Centre within the LCCC District.



Gates at Cheryvale - Councillor Long


At the request of Councillor Kelly, the Committee agreed to widen the existing consultation in respect of Cherryvale to include consultation with the residents of Wynchurch, Rosetta, Flush and Cheltenham and also to extend the consultation until 1st  October 2020.