Amid the dispute over the football reception invitations in January’s Belfast City Council meeting, I am pleased to say that Belfast City Council has agreed to my proposal to develop a green energy action plan and has begun the process by allocating up to £20,000 for an initial feasibility study.
Nearly 5,000 cities and local authorities across Europe have developed strategies for energy transition but disappointingly Belfast has fallen behind and is one of the few major EU cities never to have ever developed a plan.
As a city Belfast performs poorly and was ranked last out of 20 UK cities in a survey by the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors for greenhouse gas emissions per person.
Belfast City Council is also ranked far below other councils at 1,725 in the UK government’s carbon reduction commitment scheme.
A lack of attention to energy policy by other parties has also meant we have missed out on many opportunities to draw down on external funding for energy efficiency or renewable energy generation.
It is disappointing for example that the council has not yet installed solar panels on our leisure or community centres to cut our energy costs.
This issue of energy is one of critical importance as climate change presents huge risks to global stability.
Unless action is taken, scientists expect much more serious extreme weather at home and abroad leading to the migration of many more people.
A clear strategy with ambitious targets for Belfast is long overdue to ensure we focus on zero waste of energy to cut costs and on renewable energy generation to secure our own supplies.
Councillor Ross Brown, Green Party, Belfast