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News

DAERA pilot offers farmers free environmental audit

A new pilot scheme aimed at improving our environment, reducing the number of on-farm inspections and helping farmers comply with payment rules has been launched by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

The Water Management Unit within NIEA has worked closely with Countryside Management Unit and the Ulster Farmers’ Union to develop the pilot project which will deliver on-farm environmental audits to farmers who request them.  

Denis McMahon, DAERA Permanent Secretary, said: “The aims of this voluntary scheme are to protect and improve our environment and help our farmers keep more money in their pockets. We can do this by identifying and tackling any minor environmental issues around the farm and addressing them promptly, thereby improving the environment and reducing the chances of cross compliance inspections and breaches.

Wellbeing in Northern Ireland... the next phase

The Local Government Act 2014 introduced a swathe of new powers for local councils, reflected in community plans.

Mirroring the outcomes based approach of the draft Programme for Government, you can read here how the wellbeing agenda has been assimilated in these community plans.

With the Northern Ireland Executive on an extended leave of absence, the Carnegie UK Trust recently announced  its intention to support wellbeing outcomes-based approach at local government level. 

Building on the legacy of the Carnegie Roundtable on Measuring Wellbeing in Northern Ireland, the Trust will be working with a range of partners to embed a local wellbeing-outcomes approach. 

Resource: Social Value Toolkit

We are pleased to introduce a new Social Value Toolkit, developed to help councils and public sector organisations in Northern Ireland embed social value principles into their procurement approaches, ahead of any future legislation in this area.

Social Value is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis. It does this by generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, and the environment.

Sustainable Development Goals Roadshow 2018

We are delighted to announce that our Executive Director Nichola Hughes will be a panelist and speaker at the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals Roadshow, in Belfast on Tuesday 8th May.

The theme of the event is ‘Making Global Goals Local Business’ and it will centre around the Global Goals adopted by United Nation member states in 2015.

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

Mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

Belfast appoints Resilience Commissioner

Belfast City Council has appointed a new commissioner to help the city prepare for any scenario that might prevent it from functioning properly

The Commissioner for Resilience – the city’s first – will help build a comprehensive resilience strategy for Belfast, addressing major ‘shocks’ such as flooding, infrastructure failure and cyber–attack.

The new commissioner, Grainia Long, will also address ongoing ‘stresses’ such as fragile aspects of the city’s economy, economic exclusion, segregation, health inequalities and climate change.

The position will be funded for two years by a grant from the The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities global network.

Belfast is one of only five cities in the UK to have been selected from over 1,000 applicant cities to participate in the network.

We need to eat less and better meat and dairy say campaigners

A powerful alliance of 52 organisations have set out their stall for how to eat meat and dairy more sustainably. Eating Better and its partners including Friends of the Earth, Sustain, WWF and Compassion in World Farming have released a report which sets out how a ‘less and better’ approach to meat and dairy is better for people, animals and the environment.

The report, Principles for Eating Meat and Dairy More Sustainably: the 'less and better' approach is well-timed, as the UK Government is currently consulting on a post-Brexit food and farming strategy. Eating Better is calling on DEFRA to integrate a less and better approach to meat and dairy into its plans, and to do more to encourage and reward farmers adopting more sustainable and higher welfare animal farming methods. 

Training: Carbon Management

 SNI Training: Carbon Management

10:00 - 13:00 | 9th May 2018 | Parliament Buildings, Belfast

This course will provide you with the tools and information needed for measuring and managing your organisation's carbon footprint.

Context: 

SNI Event: EU Funding Project Ideas Lab

 EU Funding Ideas Lab

09:00 - 15:00 | 28th March 2018 | Belfast

This regional Project Ideas Lab, organised by Sustainable Northern Ireland in partnership with SEUPB, focused on promoting EU funding streams and identifying and developing sustainable development projects which may be elegible for EU funding. After hearing about various EU programme's priorities for funding and case studies of succesfully funded projects, participants were able to ask questions, network, find partners and identify project ideas. A range of sectors attended including universities, local government and central government departments and bodies.

Blog: What is the gender pay Gap in Northern Ireland?

By Michael Scholes & Aidan Stennet, via NI Assembly Research Matters

The GPG should not be confused with equal pay, which refers to paying men and women differently for doing the same work. This discriminatory practice was outlawed in the United Kingdom (UK) by the Equal Pay Act 1970.

There are a number of factors which lead to a GPG. Again, these are defined by the UK Government as:

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