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Published - June 2024

Performance Improvement Plan 2024 - 2025

Improvement objective 4: Our planet

In addition to the specific improvement actions set out below, we will champion climate action; protect the environment and improve the sustainability of Belfast by delivering our normal programme of work contained within the Belfast Agenda 2024-28, draft Corporate Plan 2024-28, committee plans and supporting departmental and business plans.

Improvement objective 4

We will champion climate action; protect the environment and improve the sustainability of Belfast.

Why is this an improvement objective? 
  • Climate change is a global concern. Since we declared a climate emergency in 2019 and launched our Resilience Strategy in 2020, we have been taking action to transition the city to an inclusive, zero-emissions and climate-resilient economy in a generation.
  • Therefore, this objective has been retained and refocused from the 2023-24 improvement plan as it remains a priority at a regional and local level, and we have statutory responsibilities to address climate change.
  • Creating an environmentally sustainable city was identified as a key outcome and priority in consultation undertaken with partners, residents, and stakeholders in the process of refreshing the Belfast Agenda.

Relevant strategies, plans and evidence at regional and local level 

Global: COP21, UN Sustainable Development Goals

Regional: The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland)2022, Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024, Energy Strategy –The Path to Net Zero Energy, Draft Green Growth Strategy, Programme for Government, Second Cycle NI Flood Risk Management Plan 2021-2027, Strategic Planning Policy Statement

Local: Belfast Resilience Strategy, A Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for Belfast, A Bolder Vision for Belfast, Belfast Local Development Plan (LDP), Belfast Open Spaces Strategy, Belfast Air Quality Action Plan, Belfast Green and Blue Infrastructure Plan, Belfast (Draft) Economic Strategy, Belfast (Draft) Adaptation Strategy, Belfast Local Area Energy Plan. 

Alignment to the Belfast Agenda (BA) and corporate plan 

Belfast Agenda outcome: Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city.

BA and corporate plan themes: Our services, Our people and communities, Our place, and Our planet.

Statutory aspect of improvement 
  • Strategic effectiveness
  • Service quality, availability, and fairness
  • Sustainability
  • Efficiency
  • Innovation

We will:

  • Enhance the resilience of our assets and services and progress towards net-zero through delivery of our operational Climate Action Plan – including:
    • adoption of our low emission vehicles strategy.
    • approval for a council single use plastics policy for the council.
    • publication of a council climate investment plan.
    • deliver neighbourhood recycling pilot.
  • Develop an evidence base to enable a cost-effective transition to net-zero by commencing the delivery of the Belfast Local Area Energy Plan.
  • Improve and restore woodland by delivering year two of the Belfast Tree Strategy and Action Plan.
  • Test nature-based solutions through the Horizon 2020 EU ‘UPSURGE’ Project.
  • Embed net-zero in urban planning by progressing the Horizon Europe funded UP2030 project.
  • Promote access to sustainable and healthy food for all through the development of a sustainable food strategy.
  • Promote and educate young people on the reduce, reuse, and recycle message to improve environmental awareness on waste management. 
  • Deliver an effective waste management service across the city. 

Our measures of success for 2025 include:

  • Maintaining Carbon Disclosure “A” Status.
  • Maintaining silver NI environmental benchmarking survey rating.
  • Improving the percentage of council municipal waste arisings that is sent for recycling to 38.5%.
  • Reducing the tonnage of biodegradable council collected waste that is landfilled to 15,000 tonnes (statutory indicator).
  • Increasing the % of household waste collected that is sent for recycling to 42% (or prepared for re-use) (statutory indicator).
  • Achieving 160,000 tonnage of council collected municipal waste arisings (statutory indicator).
  • Visiting a minimum of 150 schools to deliver a curriculum-linked environment workshop on anti-litter and reduce, reuse, recycle message.
  • Planting trees as part of the One Million Trees Programme (target to be confirmed – subject to internal approval).
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