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New regulations introducing climate change reporting duties on public bodies

The Minister has announced laying regulations that will place climate change reporting duties on specified public bodies in line with duties under the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022.

The regulations will come into operation in early May 2024, 21 days after they are laid in the Assembly. However, the first reports by public bodies required under the regulations, will not be due to be submitted until October 2025.

Minister Muir said: “These regulations are a positive milestone in delivering on our obligations in relation to the Act and reporting will give bodies an opportunity to show continued leadership on climate action within the public sector, providing positive examples and shared learning of what effective climate action can deliver.

“Many public bodies are already gathering some climate change data, but requirements to report under these regulations bring structure, transparency and comparability to that process and will allow sharing of experience and expertise across public bodies which is of benefit to all of us,” he added.

In all, some 40 bodies including councils, health trusts, the police, and fire service, are required to report on their carbon emissions, as well as their plans and progress in reducing these emissions. The bodies will also, report on what they plan to do about, and their progress in, tackling the risks and impacts from climate change.

The approach to these regulations is balanced, minimising the risk of undue burden, by requiring only those public bodies which are large sized organisations to report.