Council steps up efforts to become climate resilient

Belfast City Council has moved to the next stage of its climate plan, as it commences an 18-month programme of work which seeks to protect its assets from the effects of climate change.   Council has joined forces with Climate NI to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment and prioritise key activities that will ensure its buildings, estates and systems can withstand key climate related shocks, such as extreme weather. The work will take place alongside other measures to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint, as part of its overall approach to climate planning.  Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, said: “While we start to look ahead to recovery, and coming out the other side of the current pandemic, action on climate change remains a priority and something which requires our urgent attention.  As a council, we want to accelerate climate action to ensure our residents, communities and businesses are prepared for, and protected from the worst impacts of climate change.
“It is ironic that in the midst of responding to one crisis, we have continued to make progress on another. Covid19 has taught us lessons for how we respond to major risks including climate change, and it’s important that we build on what we have achieved over the last few weeks and months – albeit not in the manner we had hoped for or anticipated.” Last October, Members of Belfast City Council declared a climate emergency and agreed that urgent action was needed to prepare for climate change, agreeing to take forward its adaptation and mitigation plans in tandem in order to expedite the process. The plans form part of the Council’s wider Resilience Strategy which aims to transition Belfast to an inclusive low-carbon, climate-resilient economy within a generation. Climate NI will assist with research, data collection and risk assessment to identify areas of priority across the Council’s assets.  Alderman McCoubrey added: “This is a major piece of work but we are committed to doing all we can to effect change and look across services and departments for ways of adapting how we work in order to help achieve our ambitions. It’s also important that we identify the challenges and barriers that are in our way so that we can have those difficult conversations and seek a solution, together.” Jane McCullough of Climate NI said: “Climate NI is excited to be working with Belfast City Council on the development of a climate change adaptation plan which will begin to prepare the city for the major shocks and stresses of climate change.  We are delighted that Belfast City Council are prioritising climate action, as the next few years are vital if we are to deliver meaningful change for the current and future citizens of Belfast.”

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