Agenda item


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To present to Committee Belfast City Council’s draft response to the recently published Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-       Approve the draft Belfast City Council response to the Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland.

-       Note the recruitment of a Chief Executive by Arc21.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       Members may recall from last month’s meeting (7th February 2023) that the Department for the Economy (DfE) has recently launched a public consultation on the draft Circular Economy (CE) Strategy for Northern Ireland.  This draft strategy sets out the Department’s vision to create an innovative, inclusive and competitive economy, with responsible production and consumption at its core.


3.2       The main goal of the CE Strategy is to adopt a circular model and reduce our material footprint to live responsibly, build resilience, exploit new opportunities and to secure future prosperity for businesses, people and the planet.


3.3       DfE has worked together with all government departments to develop the draft strategy, in collaboration with external stakeholders from local government, the private sector, academia, the voluntary and community sectors and others. 


3.4       The overarching target is to halve Northern Ireland’s annual material footprint per person to 8 tonnes by 2050. Our material footprint is the total volume of material embodied within the whole supply chain to meet our demands.  It measures the global (domestic and foreign) extraction of raw materials required for goods and services used by the residents of Northern Ireland.


3.5       The draft CE Strategy sets out how this can be achieved through; switching to materials that can be reused, increasing use of fuels that can be replenished, designing things to be kept in use for longer and reducing waste.  


3.6       The draft Strategy is set out in two parts: the Executive Summary and first four chapters provides an outline of the Circular Economy and the second part covers proposals for initiating change and how this can be monitored and measured.


3.7       The draft CE Strategy focuses on four business sectors:


-       Construction and the built environment

-       Bioeconomy

-       Advanced manufacturing

-       Tourism and Hospitality


3.8       It focuses on four types of materials:


-       Textiles

-       Food

-       Packaging

-       Electricals


3.9       To help create more sustainable production and levels of consumption, the CE Strategy presents twelve proposals for change:


1.      Develop and implement a programme to support and promote behaviour change.


2.      Create clusters and networks to raise awareness and assist collaboration.


3.      Develop an outcome-focused Circular Economy monitoring framework.


4.      Embed Circular Economy principles in public procurement.


5.      Work with businesses to increase circular design.


6.      Create and support platforms and hubs to share goods and materials.


7.      Maximise the value of materials locally.


8.      Establish a Circular Economy funding programme.


9.      Create a regulatory framework that supports and incentivises greater circulation of goods and materials.


10.   Invest in research and development to support the valorisation of materials.


11.   Embed Circular Economy principles at all levels of education.


12.   Design of future skills programmes and reviews of current programmes to support a Just Transition.


3.10      There are 19 Questions posed in total within the response template.  Questions 1-4 cover contact details and the remaining 15 questions cover views on the vision, materials footprint target, proposals for change, clusters and networks, embedding CE principles into public procurement, creating and supporting platforms and hubs, maximising the value of materials locally, a CE funding programme, funding instruments, a regulatory framework, development of a skills programme and delivery of the strategy.


3.11      The closing date for responses to the draft strategy is 20 March 2023.


3.12      The draft strategy is available at Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland  and a full copy of the ‘Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Irelandis also attached as Appendix I


3.13      A copy of our draft response to the consultation questions is attached as Appendix II


3.14      A copy of arc21’s draft response to the consultation questions is attached as Appendix III



            Operations Update


3.15      Committee is asked to note Arc21 has advised the Council of a recruitment exercise for the appointment of a Chief Executive on a permanent basis.  Councils will be represented in the process by those on the Joint Committee and by involvement of a Chief Executive of a member Council.  Committee will be updated on the outcome in due course.


3.16      St Patrick’s Day 17th March 2023 Bank Holiday.  Planning for coverage of bank holiday bin collections has been completed and a separate note updating elected members was sent out on the 27th February 2023.  Planning for Easter Bank Holidays has commenced, and Members will be updated in due course.


            Financial and Resource Implications


3.17      None in relation to responding to the consultations.


            Equality or Rural Needs Implications


3.18      None in relation to responding to the consultations.”


            During discussion a Member referred to the need to try and encourage the recycling of glass and also the need to try and reduce ‘fast textiles’.  The Members were advised that a report would be being submitted to Committee in due course which would further consider these issues.


            The Committee approved the draft Belfast City Council response to the Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland available here and noted the recruitment of a Chief Executive by Arc21.


Supporting documents: