Agenda item


            The Monitoring, Learning and Reporting Officer submitted the undernoted report regarding the reporting schedule to DAERA on climate change.


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to update members on the consultation response to DAERA on climate change reporting.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


i)            Note the contents of the consultation

ii)          Agree submission of response to DAERA


3.0       Main report


3.1       Climate Change Reporting Requirements


A climate emergency was declared by the Northern Ireland Assembly in February 2020. In June 2022, the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 received Royal Assent. This Act sets out Northern Ireland’s framework for tackling climate change and reducing emissions, by setting (among other things) challenging targets to deliver net zero emissions (‘net zero’) in Northern Ireland by the year 2050. The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is leading on the development of Northern Ireland’s first 5-year climate action plan (CAP) as required under the Act. The CAP will contain the Northern Ireland departments’ policies and proposals to meet the first 5-year carbon budget for the years 2023-27 (which is a limit on the amount of emissions Northern Ireland can emit) and it will set our longer-term pathway towards net zero by 2050.


The important role of public bodies in tackling climate change is recognised by the Act, by requiring new law (regulations) to be made, which will set a requirement for specified public bodies to report on climate change.


The consultation aims to help guide the department on what should be included within future monitoring requirements from public bodies and establish how often the information should be gathered.


Belfast City Council response includes:


·        Adaptation reports should be provided every 2 years - Adaptation strategies tend to run on 3-5 year cycles, setting the direction of travel and the results of programmes can take longer periods of time to bear fruit, however, adaptation action should be continuous, reflecting the amount of change required, making reporting every 2 years valuable to track progress. The first report should be submitted by January 2025 to align with the independent expert climate change advice from the Climate Change Committee


·        Mitigation reports should be provided every 2 years - Mitigation action plans are often short term or can at least be measured in clear stages, reflecting the quarterly energy billing and data collection system. There is therefore a need for more frequent updates on progress towards meeting NI and UK overall emissions reduction targets. It also aligns with the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reporting requirements for mitigation. The first report should be submitted by October 2025 to align with outputs from the Climate Change Committee.


4.0       Financial and Resource Implications


4.1       None


5.0       Equality or Good Relations Implications/

Rural Needs Implications


5.1       None.”


            A Member raised concerns on the consultation document proposing that NI Concessionary Fare Scheme be raised from sixty to sixty-five years of age. The Member suggested that the Department should be incentivising individuals to use public transport, given the current climate emergency, and suggested that the Council make a submission, as part of the consultation process, to have the decision reversed.


            In response, the Director of City and Organisational Strategy stated that he would endeavour to ascertain which Council department would take a lead in the matter raised and would report back, by way of an officer-led response, to the proposal outlined in the consultation document.


            The Committee approved the officer-led response to the consultation document.


Supporting documents: