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Councils examine range of options to stop scourge of plastic waste

Antrim and Newtwoabbey Borough Council have joined a list of councils across Northern Ireland to outline their committment to reducing the amount of Single Use Plastics (SUP) across their organisation.

The plans include removal of vending machines in leisure centres and the use of social media ‘influencers’ to encourage recycling. In October 2018, an action plan setting out a number of proposals was approved, including working with Northern Ireland Water, Sustainable Northern Ireland and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

A report said that while the use of plastics rather than glass for holding drinks and other materials has resulted in reduced fuel costs and carbon emissions, the recycling of these materials has been traditionally more difficult than glass and there is also the problem of the items being discarded and ending up as litter, rather than being binned. 

Environment Strategy consultation launched in Northern Ireland

The public has been asked to help shape Northern Ireland’s first environment strategy.

The head of the agency charged with looking after it said time was running out to ensure it is properly protected.

David Small from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency said “ambitious, inspiring and targeted actions” were needed.

The public consultation is open for 14 weeks and will close on 23 December 2019.

Mr Small said issues to be addressed included climate action, plastic pollution and getting to zero waste.

“In Northern Ireland, our beautiful landscape is our most important asset but we can no longer afford to take clear air, good water quality, and green and blues spaces for granted,” he said.

Government launch 5-year Climate Change Adaptation Programme for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s second Climate Change Adaptation Programme (NICCAP2) was published in September 2019 and it covers the period 2019-2024.

NICCAP2 contains the NICS Departments response to the risks and opportunities relevant to Northern Ireland as identified in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 ("CCRA 2017").

NICCAP2 focuses on key priority areas identified as requiring urgent adaptation action over the next five years.

It sets the policies, strategies, and delivery plan actions by which NICS Departments will deliver outcome objectives so to achieve the vision of ‘A resilient Northern Ireland which will take timely and well-informed decisions to address the socio-economic and environmental impacts of climate change’.

Lay of the Land - RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Northern Ireland Report

Lay of the Land outlines the need for a transformation in our food and farming system in order to respond to the climate emergency and restore biodiversity, improve the public's health and wellbeing in all communities and develop Northern Ireland's distinctive pattern of farming to play its full part in responding to these challenges, supporting and revitalising rural communities.

It is now a matter of urgency that progress is made towards the outcomes above. Building on what we have heard from citizens and the analysis set out in this report, we make the following recommendation:



NI’s 2020 Local Government Awards has now reached finalist stage! The response from all councils and partners to this year’s campaign has been fantastic with almost 60 entries across eight categories. 

The Awards showcase brilliance in service provision, new initiatives and personal commitment from councils, councillors, staff and partners. They offer public and peer recognition whilst motivating those delivering and sustaining front line and other key council services.  The categories foster innovation, exceptional commitment and great work, providing opportunities for local government’s staff and members to step forward and learn from great example.   

Global Goals Local Action - 23 November 2018, Coffee Cure, Bangor


Sustainable NI and Nilga recently organised an event entitled Global Goals, Local Action (23 November 2018, Coffee Cure, Bangor), hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council.  The event was to raise awareness of the 17 international Sustainable Development Goals and how they are being, and could be, implemented at a local level.

The event included a range of speakers covering topics such as Sustainable Tourism, Planning and Resilience, Sustainable Food and Responsible Business.  

This event was developed in association with Nilga and was therefore designed for Elected Members.  We had 21 members from across Northern Ireland in attendance.  However, the event was not solely for members and other council officers and public sector representatives attended along with the private sector.





Ards and North Down Borough Council could be the first in NI to have Seabins

A series of unique and innovative ways of protecting the environment are being introduced by Ards and North Down Borough Council.  The projects are being funding by the Recycling Community Investment Fund set up in 2016 from savings achieved through residents committment to the councils recycling schemes.

One particular project is the purchase of 3 Seabins to be located around the Ards and North Down Borough Council coastline - the longest coastline of any local authority in Northern Ireland.  Its 110 miles of coastline draws tourism as a result of its waterways, harbours and marinas and this initiative will help in the fight against the eight million pieces of plastic that find their way into oceans daily, making the sea a cleaner and safer place for both residents and local marine wildlife.

WWF report: Mass wildlife loss caused by human consumption

"Exploding human consumption" has caused a massive drop in global wildlife populations in recent decades, the WWF conservation group says.

In a report, the charity says losses in vertebrate species - mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles - averaged 60% between 1970 and 2014.  "Earth is losing biodiversity at a rate seen only during mass extinctions," the WWF's Living Planet Report adds.  It urges policy makers to set new targets for sustainable development.

The Living Planet Report, published every two years, aims to assess the state of the world's wildlife.

Final call to save the world from 'climate catastrophe'

It's the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. 

Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.  Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society". It will be hugely expensive - but the window of opportunity remains open. 

After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.

2018 Local Government Awards: Northern Irelands "Best in Class" Winner of Excellence in Environmental Sustainability by a Local Authority

Councils throughout Northern Ireland were celebrating last Thursday (11 October) as nine award category winners of the 2018 Local Government Awards were announced.  The event was hosted by Sarah Travers at the Armagh City Hotel.

The awards are co-ordinated by NILGA and the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), this year they attracted an unprecendented 78 entries and showcased brilliance in service provision, new initiatives and the personal commitment from councils, councillors, staff and partners.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Dermot Curran, Northern Ireland Local Government Associations (NILGA) President said,

'Congratulations to the winners and to all the 11 councils who took time to submit entries into the 2018 Local Government Awards.