Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Ms. Carolyn Donnelly, Democratic Services officer 

No. Item




            Apologies for an inability to attend the Committee meeting were noted from Alderman Sandford and Councillors Doran, Gormley, Maghie, Murray, Smyth and Thompson.






Declarations of Interest


            No declarations of interest were declared.



Presentation of the RSUA Climate Action Report by Alan Ritchie, Chair of the RSUA Climate Emergency Committee


Mr Ritchie was unable to attend the Committee meeting due to a family emergency and had sent his apologies.  Mr Ritchie would be invited to attend a future meeting of the Committee.


Update on the activities of the retrofit hub pdf icon PDF 313 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to update Members about the Belfast Retrofit Hub, which was established in September 2022 with the aim of engaging relevant stakeholders and developing a programme of activity which will support preparation for a rollout of retrofit in Belfast.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Members of the Committee are asked to:


                                       i          Note that Belfast City Council convened the Belfast Retrofit Hub following analysis within the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap which indicated that residential, public and commercial buildings are the major source of emissions in the city, alongside transport.


                                     ii          Note that a programme of activity is currently being drafted and will be presented to Belfast Retrofit Hub for consideration on the 17th May 2023.


                                    iii          Agree that regular updates will be brought forward to Committee at key points as the retrofit programme develops.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background


3.2       Belfast Retrofit Hub met for the first time in September 2022, bringing together NIHE, business leaders, key organisations and the Council to catalyse retrofit activity relating to all public and private buildings in Belfast.


3.3       The Hub’s work is informed by the National Retrofit Strategy (see appendix one) which was produced by the Construction Leadership Council and seeks to ensure that eight interlocking elements are advanced together:


1.      Leadership and communications

2.      Supporting learning and innovation culture focussed on just transition

3.      Performance standards

4.      Finance and grants

5.      Training and accreditation

6.      Materials and equipment

7.      Creating customer demand

8.      Compliance and quality regime


3.4       The agreed purpose of Belfast Retrofit Hub as set out in the terms of reference is:


·        To identify opportunities for retrofit across the city and to bring together the partners who can realise those opportunities

·        To identify and endorse the required standards of building performance that retrofit in Belfast needs to achieve

·        To identify ways of supporting the economic activity, skills and jobs that achieving those standards require

·        To draw together partners to source and release funding

·        To promote a collaborative, solutions approach sharing knowledge across ownership and tenure

·        To ensure engagement with stakeholders across the city, and to support and promote complementary initiatives

·        To report on progress, initially to the Resilience and Sustainability Board


3.5       The Hub was established following the findings of the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap that buildings and transport are the two highest carbon emitting sectors in Belfast and subsequent Housing Readiness Assessment, which provided areas on which to focus such as the upgrade of building regulations, energy efficiency programmes, and regional policy.


3.6       To date there have been three meetings of the Belfast Retrofit Hub, which meets quarterly, and a series of roundtable discussions focused on specific themes, the outcome of which will inform the draft retrofit work programme. These discussions have allowed engagement with a range of stakeholders beyond the core Hub membership for example with private rental landlords and the Consumer Council. The sessions have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor pdf icon PDF 260 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“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 the draft action plan for the partnership.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


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


3.0       Main report


3.1       At its meeting on 11 August 2022, members received an update on progress to support the development of the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor including work on the strategy and action plan. Since that meeting, the strategy has now been completed and agreed by all DBEC partners. It articulates a vision to sustainable economic growth across the region, identifying areas of focus for the partnership to address future opportunities and seeking to address any gaps in existing provision.


3.2       The vision of the strategy is to become a leading economic corridor in Europe, achieving sustainable growth through collaborative R&D, a highly skilled workforce and enabling infrastructure. This includes an ambition to be world renowned as a major international centre in growth sectors such as Professional Services, Advanced Manufacturing, ICT and Life and Health Sciences. 


3.3       The strategy articulates a number of strategic objectives for the partnership, including;


·        Increase skills and training to meet the labour requirements of the region, building on and expanding the existing workforce

·        Advocate for cross-border infrastructure to strengthen connectivity and access to markets and labour

·        Enhance cross-border collaboration in R&D and Innovation, targeting investment in high growth sectors and the green economy

·        Promote sustainable and climate-conscious growth along the corridor, aligned with councils’ development plans and wider policy objectives

·        Align with and support economic development partners to increase trade and investment along corridor

·        Market the region and elevate the DBEC brand so that the region becomes globally renowned as an attractive place to live and do business.


3.4       The strategy identified the need for dedicated resources to bring forward the key actions. As a result, recruitment is under way for two staff members.  These positions were advertised internally across all partner councils for a period of two years. The recruitment process is led by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council who currently act as secretariat. 


3.5       The action plan outlined key pillars to support effective delivery, including ways of working, governance and resourcing, and communication and marketing. Priority actions identified across the short and medium term include:


·        Undertaking further stakeholder engagement and developing a coherent marketing and communications strategy in line with the strategic objectives

·        Progressing the Shared Island feasibility study (see below) around sectoral Innovation Hubs along the corridor, with the aim of preparing an application for external funding by Q4 2023. In parallel with circular economy activities at Belfast City Council and Dublin City Council, gathering insights on circular economy initiatives along the corridor

·        Identification and preparatory scoping for relevant external funding opportunities, including Peace Plus and Shared Island

·        Undertaking  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.