Agenda item


            The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 1st September, the following motion had been proposed by Councillor Beattie and seconded by Councillor McLaughlin:


“After multiple incidents, including the tragic incident in Ballysillan on 11th July, this Council agrees to remove all bonfire materials from Belfast City Council assets, unless permission has been granted through an application process.


A bonfire application must include:


·        permission being requested by a constituted organisation;


·        a risk assessment provided by the applicant and agreed with the PSNI, Fire Service and landowner (BCC);


·        Public Liability Insurance;


·        an Event Management Plan;


·        a commitment to ensuring that there will be no burning of any toxic materials (e.g. tyres);


·        an Entertainments Licence;


·        the demonstration of sufficient consultation with local residents; and


·        a site cleansing plan.


In addition:


·        The display or burning of offensive materials such as flags, emblems, effigies, and posters will not be permitted and a commitment must be provided. Any breaches will impact upon future applications; and


·        Bonfire Beacons will be preferred, unless an applicant can demonstrate the necessity and safety of a non-structured bonfire.


Any failure to follow an open, transparent, robust and successful application procedure for a bonfire will result in the Council requesting the support of the PSNI to provide protection to our contractors for the removal of materials.


Applications must be received three months before a planned event.”


            In accordance with Standing Order 13(f), the motion had been referred without discussion to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.


Amendment 1


Moved by Alderman Kingston,

Seconded by Councillor Bunting,


      That Councillor Beattie’s motion be replaced with the following:


 “This Council:


·        recognises that July bonfires are a legitimate and long-standing tradition within the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community;


·        supports all efforts to encourage self-regulation and responsible management of bonfires and beacons, free from hazardous or offensive material;


·        will not support bonfires which pose a serious risk to property or life nor the burning of hazardous materials which pose a serious risk to health and/or the environment;


·        will work with local communities, elected representatives, collaborative networks and statutory partners to encourage safe and responsible bonfires, where these are locally wanted; and


·        will continue to provide and to encourage the use of beacons in agreed managed circumstances where these are wanted by local communities as an alternative to a traditional bonfire.”


            On a vote, six Members voted for the amendment and eleven against, with one “no vote”, and it was declared lost.


Amendment 2


Moved by the High Sheriff (Councillor Long),

Seconded by Councillor McDonough-Brown,


      That Councillor Beattie’s motion be replaced with the following:


“This Council will conduct an immediate review of the 2021 bonfire season, to be completed in time for the Committee meeting in November, to include Elected Representatives, statutory agencies and bonfire builders, in order to highlight issues which will need to be addressed.


The Council agrees to write to the Executive Office asking for the FICT report to be published, along with an action plan, as this will help inform the Council's view moving forward.”


            On a vote, three Members voted for the amendment and fifteen against and it was declared lost.


            Councillor Beattie’s motion was then put to the meeting, when nine Members voted for and eight against, with one “no vote”, and it was declared carried.


            The Committee noted that a report would be submitted to a future meeting providing details on how the motion would be facilitated, resourced and managed.


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