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The Council has a statutory duty to screen. This includes our strategies, plans, policies, legislative developments; and new ways of working such as the introduction, change or end of an existing service, grant funding arrangement or facility. This screening template is designed to help departments consider the likely equality impacts of their proposed decisions on different groups of customers, service users, staff and visitors.

Before carrying out an equality screening exercise it is important that you have received the necessary training first. To find out about the training needed or any other queries on screening, contact the Equality and Diversity Officers (job-share) Stella Gilmartin or Lorraine Dennis on extension 6026/6027or by email equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

The accompanying Screening Guidance note provides straightforward advice on how to carry out equality screening exercises.  Detailed information about the Section 75 equality duties and what they mean in practice is available on the Equality Commission’s website[1]

The screening template has 4 sections to complete. These are:

Section A - provides details about the policy / decision that is being screened

Section B – gives information on the consultation process, supporting evidence gathered and has 4 key questions outlining the likely impacts on all equality groups.

Section C - has 4 key questions in relation to obligations under the Disability Discrimination Order  

Section D - is the formal record of the screening decision.

Section A

Details about the policy or decision to be screened

1. Title of policy / decision to be screened:

Luminous City – A Lighting Strategy for Belfast

2. Brief description of policy or decision to be screened:
(Explain - Is this a new, revised or existing policy?  Are there financial / legislative / procurement implications?)

This is a new policy falling under the Belfast City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy.  Belfast City Council is currently developing a City Lighting Strategy which will inform how new city lighting schemes will be brought forward in a coherent way. It is a technical document making observations and recommendations for enhancing and upgrading the quality of lighting in the city.

Lighting other than functional street lighting and festive ‘city dressing’ has predominantly been delivered through various individual agency initiatives and not aligned with an overall vision for the city.  Consequently, the overall impact is less than if it had been coordinated collectively through a shared vision. 

Through a public procurement exercise, consultants were appointed to provide mapping and technical analysis and identify considerations, guidance and recommendations for the delivery of lighting across the city by Council and other public and private agencies.

Financial implications – Funding will be required to progress future lighting projects identified under the Future City Centre programme.  

Legislation - This policy does not require any new legislation.  The Strategy includes a list of key considerations and best practice approaches when installing lighting in exterior environments with the aim of these then being incorporated into future installations, if approved by Council.   

3. Aims and objectives of the policy / decision to be screened:
(What is the policy trying to achieve?)

Luminous City – a Lighting Strategy for Belfast

Belfast City Council is currently finalising ‘Luminous City - a Lighting Strategy for Belfast’ which focuses on optimum light types and light levels across various urban contexts. It is a technical document aimed at agencies delivering precinct lighting in the city.

Precinct lighting in Belfast has predominantly been delivered through various departments and agencies and not aligned with an overall set of design principles or vision for the city. Consequently the overall impact is less than if it had been designed through a shared vision. The potential of lighting to contribute positively to 'place' in a myriad of ways - increasing safety, encouraging footfall, creating atmosphere, and helping to support social, economic and sustainability targets, is well evidenced. The Lighting Strategy document sets out a methodology and guidance for city delivery partners on balancing light and dark to achieve this potential. 

The strategy aims and objectives include:

  • provide a more legible and accessible environment by improving the uniformity of light and reducing glare
  • balance, by reducing and enhancing where appropriate, the amount of light used, and improving both colour appearance and colour rendering
  • provide a more ‘human scale’ of lighting, and improve functionality and aesthetics through the repositioning of existing street and building lighting (i.e. optimising position for human use)
  • celebrate the city’s character and create warm, friendly and exciting city experiences by highlighting; heritage buildings and sites, contemporary architecture of merit, iconic landmarks, public artworks and key thresholds and gateway points into and within the city
  • incorporate multi-functional infrastructure within schemes to encourage and support the use of innovative approaches and Dynamic light for special event
  • increase safety by ensuring appropriate light levels in identified and perceived dark and dangerous areas to support the prevention of crime through surveillance
  • encourage, guide and inform lighting proposals made as part of new developments, as well as for interim lighting on development sites
  • balance the social and economic benefits of light with the environmental consequences, working with sustainable materials and approaches
  • focus on minimising light pollution and prioritising a balance between lighting proposals and retaining dark skies
  • identify avenues of funding and delivery of lighting in the city for input into a future action plan

This strategy presents research and observations, mapping current conditions in the city, including existing infrastructure, locations, and standards of lighting, who owns the assets and who maintains and manages them.

It provides a review of current policy documents relating directly and indirectly to lighting, including listing existing lighting guidelines. To assist in identifying best practice, case studies will illustrate how lighting interventions have impacted in comparable cities. It then presents a series of considerations to build on existing lighting policy such as safety and security, accessibility, and sustainability, as well as a set of design guidance specific to varying urban contexts including: new build, heritage sites, temporary development sites, points of architectural or social interest, and types of public realm spaces such as streets, squares and entries. The strategy will act as a proposal for the enhancement of existing precinct lighting by statutory agencies and as guidance for lighting proposals made as part of new developments. It will also provide encouragement for innovative lighting programmes as part of festivals and celebrations and temporary ‘meanwhile’ projects.

4. On whom will the policy or decision impact?
Consider the internal and external impacts (both actual or potential) and explain:

Group Impact Detail
Staff Yes/No

Internal: Elected members and across various Council departments

Service users Yes/No Local residents, visitors, people working in the city centre, businesses and their employees, business representative groups   
Other public sector organisations Yes/No DfC, DfI and public sector organisations with estates - See section 5 below
Voluntary groups, community groups, trade unions  Yes/No Community groups based/workers in city centre
Others, please specify Yes/No All those who live in, work in, study, invest in or visit the city

5. Are there linkages to other Agencies/ Departments?

The Lighting Strategy’s primary role is to inform and influence external delivery agencies’ schemes and developments. Where BCC may directly deliver, delivery will require close collaborative working and partnership across a number of agencies and organisations from across the public, private and community sectors.  

Potential agencies involved in delivery include:

  • Government and Other Public Bodies:
    Department for Communities, Department of Infrastructure, Visit Belfast/NI Tourist Board; Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
  • Institutions and organisations with estates:
    University of Ulster; Queens University; Belfast Metropolitan College; Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
  • Private Developers and Institutional investors.
  • Area/Community:
    Neighbourhood and Area Partnership representing local communities.
  • Others:
    Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce; Belfast ONE BID; Linen Quarter BID; Cathedral Quarter BID; Policing and Community safety Partnership, BCCM

Section B

Information on the consultation process, supporting evidence gathered and has four key questions outlining the likely impacts for equality and good relations.

6. Outline consultation process planned or achieved

Early and ongoing engagement with stakeholders (public, private, third sector and statutory) has allowed for consultation to be conducted and feedback to be gathered from a wide range of groups impacted both in terms of ‘end users’ and delivery agents.  The information gathered through the early stakeholder engagement has been used to shape the draft Lighting strategy.

In terms of the Development of the Strategy: In order to inform the approach to writing the strategy BCC brought together a group of key city stakeholders to form a Lighting working group including all 3 BIDs, Belfast Chamber, Visit Belfast, reps from retail sector (Belfast One, Victoria Square, CastleCourt,), reps from Cultural Sector (Household, Sailortown project), various internal BCC departments (CNS, Smart Cities, Resilience, Facilities, Planning, City Regeneration and Development). Following engagement, BCC and our Creative consultants presented the approach of delivering 3 x pilot projects to inform the strategy which was approved by the stakeholder working group.

In addition there has been regular updates and briefings provided to Belfast City Council’s councillors, through the City Growth and Regeneration Committee on the development of the strategy.

Consultants also conducted more detailed engagement on their proposed approaches within the Strategy as they were developing. This included with: Belfast Chamber, Belfast Harbour, Community Safety Partnership, three BID areas; Belfast One, Destination CQ and Linen Quarter, Belfast City Centre Management, Cathedral Quarter Trust, DfC Historic Environment Division, IMTAC, and Ulster Architectural Heritage.

Internal consultation/Belfast City Council (included both in city stakeholder working group and 1-2-1s with consultant): City Regeneration and Development Dept (Placemaking), Community and Neighborhood Services (safety aspects and cleansing), Economic Development (TCHA, economic impact), Facilities Management (maintenance), Planning (design), Resilience and Smart Cities (future proofing), Good Relations and Equality.

There is a public consultation planned to last 8 weeks from 10th Sept which will be available via CitizenSpace and promoted through BCC Marketing and Corporate Communications team.

All individuals and departments from 1-2-1 and internal lists have had the Draft Strategy document forwarded to them for final comment which can also be fed in through the CitizenSpace survey.

In terms of the pilot projects: there was robust public engagement carried out on-street in the locations identified for treatment (installation of innovative lighting pilots). This included interactive creative stations on street where passing members of the public were engaged and could give their input on existing lighting and their suggestions for improvements in the areas. We also availed of the 2 x public Engagement Hubs, the first ran throughout Summer 2019 in a vacant unit on Royal Ave, and the second ran Nov and Dec 2019 in a vacant unit at 53 Royal Ave. The footfall from the Nov/Dec hub was over 6000. There was also continued engagement with the building owners and tenants in terms of lighting improvements in those areas and approval granted for installation.

Citizens made the following comments:

  • For the city to be connected, safer, inclusive and friendly. 
  • To think about Social Inclusion/Accessibility, create  interaction, respond  to people and support  safety, respond  to environment, consider sustainability, create  ambience, durability, promote heritage, attract tourism and be distinct to a Belfast narrative.
  • Streets do not feel safe at night.
  • Lighting (in general) is currently patchy and inconsistent.

Citizens were asked the question - what should lighting in our city consider? 

  • Suggestions included: visually impaired, more lighting and no dark spots and creative lighting for buildings, used to create ambience, provide colour and transform city.
  • There are some issues which may have the potential to impact upon different groups that requires further examination; people with disabilities (physical, sensory), older people (minimising trips, slips and falls where lighting is poor/inadequate), effects on people in general (glares from night time lights for people living in the city centre), women, ethnic minorities and sexual orientation (may feel less safe at night due to crime/safety and therefore more/better lighting may reduce perceptions of crime/improve safety).  Evidence will be examined in the next section. 

7. Available evidence

What evidence / information (both qualitative and quantitative) have you gathered to inform this policy?  Set out all evidence below to help inform your screening assessment.

It is important to record information gathered from a variety of sources such as: monitoring information; complaints; research surveys; consultation exercises from other public authorities.

Section 75 Category Details of evidence/information and engagement
Religious belief

The 2011 census indicates that 48.6% of Belfast City residents are from a Catholic community background and 42.3% from a Protestant community background.

Belfast City centre is a popular tourist and visitor destination, acting as a gateway to the rest of Northern Ireland.  It is a regional centre of shopping with many unique stores and brands that are not found in other cities and towns in Northern Ireland.  The Lighting Strategy aims to enhance city centre as an attractive destination to live, work, shop and visit through a number of work strands identified within the strategy.

The focus of the Lighting Strategy is the city centre which is seen as a neutral shared space. In a 2010 study conducted by Queen’s University, Belfast city was seen as space where people could mingle and feel safe.  It is also seen as having the potential to be an important area for social change in everyday life.

http://www.conflictincities.org/PDFs/WorkingPaper15rev_11.3.10.pdf  (link opens in new window)

Political opinion

The results of the May 2019 Belfast City Council elections were:

Party  Total Elected Candidates

Sinn Féin: 18

Democratic Unionist Party – D.U.P.: 15

Alliance Party: 10

Social Democratic and Labour Party - SDLP: 6

Green Party Northern Ireland: 4

People Before Profit Alliance: 3

Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland: 2

Ulster Unionist Party - UUP: 2

The city centre is a place where people from a variety of political backgrounds live, work, visit and study. This strategy aims to create a more vibrant city centre to that will be attractive those who live, work and visit the city. 

Issues concerning shared space in the city centre are key to all political communities.  
Racial group

Belfast has a higher than average proportion of people form ethnic minority groups compared with the rest of Northern Ireland.  The largest ethnic minority groups in Belfast are the Chinese community (0.79%) and the Indian community (0.78%).  The Census of 2011 highlighted that 2.85% of Belfast’s population were born in EU countries.

People from a variety of ethnic backgrounds live, work, study and visit the city centre.  This strategy aims to create a more vibrant city centre to that will be attractive place for all.
Age

Belfast has a lower percentage of young people (aged under 16 years old) 18.61% than the average for Northern Ireland 20.95% and a similar percentage of older people (over 65 years old) 14.55% as the Northern Ireland average of 14.56%. 

Belfast has a growing student population with a number of new purpose built student accommodation blocks in the city centre and the new Ulster University city centre campus that will see some 15,000 students use the facilities daily.

In 2014, Belfast was the first city in Northern Ireland to join the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities.  An age-friendly city is one in which organisations work together to make sure the quality of life for people is enhanced as they age.  Belfast City Council is part of the Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership (HSAP) working with older people to ensure that Belfast is changing to meet the needs and desires of older people.

Older people may feel more vulnerable to crime as a result of reducing lighting, but much depends on the specific circumstances as well as other factors such as crime rates, policing and quality of public spaces.

People from a variety of ages live, work, study and visit the city centre. This strategy aims to improve vibrancy and vitality of the city centre. 
Marital status

In terms of marital status, the 2011 census indicates that marital status in the city was:

2011 Census Data

  • 35.6% married
  • 45.3% single
  • 0.1% in a civil partnership
  • 5.4% separated
  • 6.2% divorced
  • 7.5% widowed/surviving partner
Sexual orientation Based on an estimate of national and international research by The Rainbow Project, 1 in 10 people in Northern Ireland would not identify as being heterosexual.
Men and women generally Belfast has a predominantly female population (51.92% of residents). This is slightly higher than the Northern figure of 51.00%.
Disability 

The 2011 Census highlighted that 1 in  7 (14.7%) of Belfast residents had a disability or long term health problem (defined as day to day activities limited to a lot), which is close to the Northern Ireland average of 11.9%.

The impact of lighting can be experienced differentially by various groups.  According to the Epileptic Society’s guidelines (Shedding Light on Photosensitivity), certain individuals are born with special sensitivity to flashing lights or contrasting visual patterns, such as stripes, grids and checkerboards. Because of this condition, their brain will produce seizure-like discharges when exposed to this type of visual stimulation.  In Northern Ireland approximately 20,000 people have epilepsy.

People with visual impairment may also experience ‘bleaching’ whereby lights are too bright.    People with visual or mobility impairments may find street lighting helpful in assisting them to navigate and avoid hazards, as such, there is a potential impact on risk of falling.  

People with disabilities may feel more vulnerable to crime as a result of reduced lighting, but much depends on the specific circumstances as well as other factors such as crime rates, policing and quality of public spaces.

Consideration of these issues will need to be built into design so that it mitigates risks.  
Dependants The 2011 Census showed that 28.57% of households in Belfast included dependent children, compared with the Northern Ireland average of 33.85%.  Lone parent households were at 11.76% compared with the Northern Ireland average of 9.13%, with 92.78% of lone parents in Belfast being female.

8. What is the likely impact (indicate if the policy impact is positive or negative) on equality of opportunity for those affected by this policy, for each of the Section 75 equality categories?  What is the level of impact?

Section 75 category Likely impact? Level of impact? Minor/Major/None
Religous belief

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Political opinion

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Racial group

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Age

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Marital status

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Sexual orientation

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Men and women generally

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive
Disability 

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.

Minor positive
Dependants

The strategy aims to provide a framework for the regeneration of the city centre.  It will develop and transform the city centre into an economically dynamic and attractive shared space for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity of this group.
Minor positive

9. Are there opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity for people within the Section 75 equalities categories? 

Section 75 category If yes, provide details If no, provide reasons
Religious belief

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Politcal opinion

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Racial group

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Age

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Marital status

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Sexual orientation

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Men and women generally

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Disability 

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Dependants

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 

10. To what extent is the policy likely to impact (positive or negatively) on good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group? What is the level of impact? 

Good relations category Likely impact? Level of impact? Minor/major/none
Religious belief It is our belief based on evidence that there would likely be a minor positive impact on people of different religious beliefs in that the proposed actions will provide opportunity for the promotion of a shared, welcoming and vibrant city centre. Minor positive
Political opinion It is our belief based on evidence that there would likely be a minor positive impact on people of different religious beliefs in that the proposed actions will provide opportunity for the promotion of a shared, welcoming and vibrant city centre. Minor positive
Racial group It is our belief based on evidence that there would likely be a minor positive impact on people of different religious beliefs in that the proposed actions will provide opportunity for the promotion of a shared, welcoming and vibrant city centre. Minor positive

11. Are there opportunities to better promote good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group?  

Good relations category If yes, provide details If no, provide reasons
Religious belief

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Political opinion

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 
Racial group

The strategy will focus on improving the quality of life in the city centre.

It should be noted that any significant projects in the strategy will require engagement with s75 groups and screening in their own right by the lead delivery organisation and will be driven by a strong focus on outcomes for local people.
 

Section C

Belfast City Council also has legislative obligations to meet under the Disability Discrimination Order and Questions 12-13 relate to these two areas.

Consideration of Disability Duties

12. Does this proposed policy / decision provide an opportunity for the Council to better promote positive attitudes towards disabled people?
Explain your assessment in full

The lighting strategy will have no direct impact on disabled people.  Each project delivering on objectives of the strategy will address these issues separately.  The strategy encourages developers, landowners and stakeholder organisations for consider the needs of disabled people when developing their lighting schemes. 

13. Does this proposed policy / decision provide an opportunity to actively increase the participation by disabled people in public life?
Explain your assessment in full 

The lighting strategy will have no direct impact on disabled people.  Each project delivering on objectives of the strategy will address these issues separately.

14. Multiple Identities
Provide details of data on the impact of the policy with multiple identities

The lighting strategy will have no direct impact on people with multiple identities.  Each project delivering on objectives of the strategy will address these issues separately.

15. Monitoring Arrangements

Section 75 places a requirement the Council to have equality monitoring arrangements in place in order to assess the impact of policies and services etc; and to help identify barriers to fair participation and to better promote equality of opportunity. 

Outline what data you will collect in the future in order to monitor the impact of this policy / decision on equality, good relations and disability duties.

Equality Good Relations Disability Duties
Each significant project will address these duties separately.  All delivery agents should build in equality screenings prior to commencement and will be responsible for monitoring arrangements. Each significant project will address these duties separately.  All delivery agents should build in equality screenings prior to commencement and will be responsible for monitoring arrangements. Each significant project will address these duties separately.  All delivery agents should build in equality screenings prior to commencement and will be responsible for monitoring arrangements.

Section D

Formal Record of Screen Decision

Title of Proposed Policy / Decision being screened: Luminous City – a Lighting Strategy for Belfast

I can confirm that the proposed policy / decision has been screened for –

equality of opportunity and good relations

disabilities duties

On the basis of the answers to the screening questions, I recommend that this policy / decision is – (place an X in the appropriate box below)

 

*Screened In – Necessary to conduct a full EQIA

*Screened Out – No EQIA necessary (no impacts)

Provide a brief note here to explain how this decision was reached:

This is a high level policy.  The significant projects that will be taken forward will be screened in their own right by the lead delivery organisation. All third party organisations that undertake any elements of the work will have to ensure that they undertake their own equality screening prior to commencement.

 

* Screened Out - Mitigating Actions (minor impacts)

  • Provide a brief note here to explain how this decision was reached:
  •  Explain what mitigating actions and / or policy changes will now be introduced:

Footnotes

[1] http://www.equalityni.org/archive/pdf/S75GuideforPublicAuthoritiesApril2010.pdf  (link opens in new window)                               

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