Agenda item


            The Commissioner for Climate and City Resilience provided the Committee with an overview of the climate programme which had commenced in 2019, when the Council declared a climate emergency. She reported that a Resilience Strategy had been formulated subsequently, in 2020, which had included the creation of a carbon roadmap. The Commissioner reported that the Council had a key role and responsibility to deliver on its climate targets and, in so doing, pay particular attention to the operation within its own estate, including the climate consequence associated with its policies and procurement processes.


            The Climate Commissioner highlighted the need to unlock the social and economic benefits associated with a climate transition and how the Council could use its estate to lead by example to achieve net-zero and emphasised the need to encourage behavioural change. She stated, that as part of that objective, the Council would accompany its climate plan with a climate investment plan as a means to promote climate actions and to identify new funding opportunities to meet its emission targets.


            The Committee was informed of the work which was required to identify and quantify the Council’s Scope one, two and three emissions, stating that over seventy per-cent of the Council’s emissions were currently category scope three emissions. The Commissioner reported that the Council was evaluating the implementation of energy audits in regard to its buildings and how energy savings might be attained. The Members were informed that the Council had approved a £1 million climate fund to reduce its emissions and improve resilience.  As part of that investment, it was reported that eighteen projects had been developed as part of that process.


            The Committee was informed of the importance of data in building an evidence-based platform regarding de-carbonisation. As part of that process, the Commissioner reported that the Council was undertaking a programme to monitor and record its carbon emissions. The Members were informed that the Council had joined the global reporting framework, Carbon Disclosure Project, during the COP 26 climate conference, receiving a B in year one and an A in year two. She referred to the work undertaken, using heat maps, to identify the most vulnerable areas of the city.


            It was reported that the Council was working on a Local Area Energy Plan for Belfast, on a geographical basis, to show the most effective ways to de-carbonise which would provide evidence-based interventions, pulling data from an extensive range of both public and private organisations. The Commissioner reported that it was anticipated that the Council’s energy plan would be published in January 2024. She referred to a range of specific projects which had been developed, including the One Million Trees and the UPSURGE projects, which were nature-based solutions to climate change.


            The Commissioner informed the Committee that the Council was evaluating the development of Solar PV at locations such as buildings and parks and was looking at options to use hydrogen-based fuel cells to power its vehicle fleet.  She highlighted work undertaken regarding sustainable food production, including the establishment of both a sustainable food partnership and heat network for the city.


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.


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