Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall
Contact: Ms. Carolyn Donnelly, Democratic Services officer
Apologies for an inability to attend were received from Councillors Hutchinson and Newton.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were reported.
Presentation on the Shared Island Initiative by the Shared Island Unit (Presenter - Eoghan Duffy)
The Chairperson welcomed Eoghan Duffy and John O’Liodain from the Shared island Unit to the meeting. Mr Duffy thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to update Members of the Committee on the developments in relation to the Shared Island Initiative. The Members then received a presentation from Mr. Duffy who outlined the elements of the shared island initiative; the first was building a shared island that included delivering longstanding and new cross-border investments. The second was Inclusive dialogue: 14 events; 2,500+ citizens from all communities, traditions and regions. And lastly the policy research programme: High quality evidence and analysis on deepening cooperation and connections on the island. Mr Duffy outlined the key deliverables in relation to the Shared Island research programme, drawing members attention to the Early Childhood Education and Care, North and South that was published on 30 January and Migrant Integration and Experience in Ireland and NI that would be launched next month on 6 March. He advised the Members that all research was available to view on their website gov.ie/sharedisland/research. He went on to outline the shared island fund and that it was mainly to deliver strategic investment objectives on Shared Island as set out in Programme for Government and revised National Development Plan (2021-2030). He outlined the shared island fund allocations to date, drawing members attention to the 1 billion euro commitment to 2030 and that over 190 million had been allocated between 2020 – 2022.
Mr Duffy outlined the Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme providing the overview below:
· Seed capital grants of up to €250,000 for cross-border Local Authority Partnerships.
· 25 awards to 15 Local Authorities in the South working with 9 councils in NI.
· Feasibility projects in progress, to conclude Q4 2023.
· Belfast City Council participating in four feasibility projects:
· Circular Economy Partnership - Belfast and Dublin.
· Development of corridor sectoral enterprise - Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor.
· Harbour Cities - Cork and Belfast.
· Learning Cities - Cork, Belfast, Derry, Limerick.
He highlighted that the objective was to generate well-developed pipeline of cross-border local authority projects and that the impact was Local Authorities cooperating to deliver shared regional development goals and more strategic cooperation by central and local government on the island.
Mr Duffy then provided the update below in relation to the Shared Island Community Climate Action Programme:
· €3m for Shared Island strand to Community Climate Action Programme.
· Projects to include at partner in Northern Ireland (can be a Council).
· 50% of awarded funding for project delivery in Northern Ireland.
· Minister for Environment commenced scheme on 2 February.
· Administered by Community Climate Action Officers in Councils.
· Grants of €5,000 to €100,000.
He advised that the objective was to support Local Authorities to step up climate action in partnership with communities across the island and cross-border projects particularly on: Valuing Networks for Nature: Just Transition; Renewable energy: Flood forecasting; Coastal erosion. The impact of the project was to help to reach climate and energy targets on the island of Ireland ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
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 Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.
Update on Net Zero Belfast Project (Pioneer Places)
The Committee considered the report that was circulated in advance of the meeting and, with the aid of PowerPoint presentation, the Belfast Climate Commissioner reminded Members of the background to the Net Zero Belfast Project. She advised that the purpose of the report was to update them on the successful application to the UK Net zero living: Pioneer places fund. She pointed out that there were a number of items Members should note – mainly the positive outcome of the funding application which had secured £75k Phase 1 funding; that the Phase 1 funding will be used to develop a plan to accelerate the transition to net zero by developing innovative solutions to overcome non-technical systemic barriers to the commercial deployment of green hydrogen technologies; and that the project was expected to start on 1 April 2023 and end by 30 June 2022. She advised that a further update would be provided to Members once the project was underway.
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 on Belfast City Council’s involvement in the UP2030 project, which is funded through Horizon Europe.
The Members of the Committee are asked to:
i Note that Belfast, represented by Belfast City Council, is a pilot city within the Horizon Europe UP2030 project, which will focus on the development of a net zero neighbourhood framework and toolkit, the exchange of knowledge between cities and the use of climate tools which support analysis, mapping and engagement in local neighbourhoods.
ii Note that in the update brought to City Growth and Regeneration Committee on the 9th November 2022, officers proposed that the Linen Quarter District and neighbouring communities would be the initial focus within the project, however noted that no final decision had been taken regarding the location, and also that should the project focus on the Linen Quarter District, Donegall Pass, Market and Sandy Row areas, this would align with the Bolder Vision Strategy and the Belfast Resilience Strategy, while allowing us to consider issues such as the severance and climate issues brought about by the road infrastructure and other factors such as poor public realm and connectivity.
iii Note that the City Growth and Regeneration Committee ‘noted the progress of a Horizon Europe Urban Planning 2030 bid to support development of a framework that integrated environmental sustainability and urban development aligned to the creation of a net zero neighbourhood as a pilot proposal and the offer of funding to further develop the project which was confirmed not to be definitive of any area at this stage; and approved the participation of the Council as an Associate Member of the Urban Planning 2030 consortium as identified in the report.’
iv Note that a further update on the Belfast pilot location will be presented to both City Growth and Regeneration Committee and Climate and City Resilience Committees in due course.
3.0 Main report
3.1 The Belfast City Council Climate Unit and City Regeneration and Development Division are working together to ensure an integrated approach between urban planning, achieving net zero and aspects of resilience such as supporting play and environmental sustainability in the city centre through engagement with key stakeholders such as young people, families, communities and businesses.
3.2 A Bolder Vision for Belfast puts liveability at its core and aims to create a sustainable, connected and vibrant city, and the creation of a people-focused environment with playful streets and spaces for children and families to live and thrive. In December 2020, Belfast launched the Belfast Resilience Strategy alongside the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap and with the Belfast One Million Trees programme these form key elements of the city’s ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality (80% reduction by 2030 and 100% by 2050). Officers have been working collaboratively to align play, climate neutrality, tree planting and green infrastructure by developing the award-winning Urban Childhood Framework and ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
The Committee considered the undernoted report
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of the report is to give members an update on the One Million Trees programme and to respond to the request that officers come back to this committee with a report on the management procedures and policies of the One Million Trees project.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
i Note the agreed site assessment criteria and process undertaken to identify if a site is suitable for tree planting including the expertise used across the Delivery Team and specialist expertise determined on a site by site basis;
ii Note that the monitoring of planted sites by the Delivery Team includes surveys within the first three years of planting and identification of survival rates;
iii Note that the programme has to date planted 63,500 trees with programme of community engagement underway that includes tree planting, business involvement, schools engagement, give a tree a home events, hedgerow and ancient woodland restoration; and
iv Consider an invitation to by the Delivery Team to visit some of the sites already planted under the Million Trees Programme later this year.
3.0 Main report
In the Climate and City Resilience Committee on 8th December members requested a report on the management procedures of the One Million Trees project. In particular, a focus on any ecological assessments, site selection, bio security measure, monitoring work and who is sought for specialise and technical advice on such matters was requested.
As members will be aware, the One Million Trees Programme has been running since 2020 and is a city-wide partnership and ambition to plant one million trees in Belfast by 2035. It is one of the ambitions of the Belfast Resilience Strategy, and has three key objectives:
· To create an inclusive structure and processes which enable tree planting and the growth of green infrastructure and biodiversity in Belfast;
· To plant at least one million trees within the next 15 years- delivering a step change in our approach to climate adaptation and environmental improvements; and
· To protect the city and the people of the city by increasing carbon capture, reducing harms from air pollution, weather impact and loss of nature and improving health and well-being.
Since the project began 63,500 trees have been planted across the city. A programme of community engagement is underway that includes tree planting, business involvement, schools engagement, give a tree a home events, hedgerow and ancient woodland restoration.
3.2 Governance and implementation arrangements
Belfast City Council agreed it would coordinate the initial phase of the project, liaise with partners and set out recommendations for project implementation. In terms of governance procedures, the Million Trees Steering Group leads the project and is made up of twenty one partners that meet on a biannual basis and agree the strategic direction of the project including to include processes and procedures. The delivery of the project is then taken forward by the Million Trees Delivery team ... view the full minutes text for item 8.