Agenda item


The Climate Programme Manager referred Members of the Committee to the report that had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that outlined the 2022 CDP award of A status to Belfast, which followed the 2021 CDP award of B status to Belfast.   He reminded Members of the Committee that in July 2021, the Council had made the first annual submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – ICLEI reporting platform, and that an update was provided to the Council in October 2021. The submission was undertaken to support baselining of activity and emissions in Belfast, and to enable full participation by Belfast in global climate action campaigns such as the Race to Zero, which linked to COP climate negotiations, the Cities Race to Resilience campaign, Cities Race to Zero campaign, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the WWF One Planet City competition. All of these campaigns required members to have made a submission through a recognised reporting mechanism, of which CDP – ICLEI was the most well-known.


He explained that a city submission to CDP illustrated the level of ambition, activity and transparency each city adopted. Belfast had made its submission public in both submission years ensuring maximum openness and transparency around its plans. The Belfast submission in 2021 was the first time Belfast had participated in CDP, and were congratulated on having achieved a B ranking at such an early stage. In 2022, the second submission had achieved an A ranking and CDP officials had made a point of appearing on local media to mark the rapid advancement of the city in their framework. 


In 2022 Belfast had updated on the adoption of city targets for achieving net zero which had been recommended in the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap (2020).  These committed the city to a 66% reduction of emissions on 2000 levels by 2025, an 80% reduction by 2030 and a 100% reduction by 2050. In addition, Belfast was able to point to adaptation targets, including the planting of one million trees by 2035 and for the Living with Water Programme the delivery target of 2033, along with monitoring arrangements for both projects.


Belfast had made a strong link between the climate risks such as flooding and heat as set out in the Belfast Climate Risk Assessment and project delivery through initiatives including Belfast One Million Trees Project which addressed a range of targets, including carbon capture, avoided water runoff, reduced levels of heat, improved biodiversity and improved health and wellbeing for residents of Belfast having planted 65,000 trees in 2 years of delivery, funding the first Belfast I-TREE ECO report which provided an analysis of the benefits of the existing Belfast trees of Belfast, part funding the new Belfast Tree Strategy, funding new infrastructure including the development of a tree nursery at Grovelands, and funding The Conservation Volunteers and Belfast Hills Partnership.


            A Member raised concerns in relation to the planting of trees through the One Million Trees Project and proposed that officers come back in February with a report on the management procedures and policies of the One Million Trees project. In particular, seeking focus on what, if any, ecological assessments were being made of sites on which trees had already been planted or going forward in the future that included site selection, bio security measures, monitoring work and what consultation was sought for specialist and technical advice on these matters.  Officers agreed to bring a report to the February meeting of the Committee detailing the management processes and assessment criteria used for the 1000 trees project.


The Committee note the information which had been provided and agreed to support the annual submission by Belfast through this internationally recognised carbon and climate reporting framework.


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