Climate Change & Sustainability

Legislation and Governance

Climate Change (Northern Ireland) Act 2022 

The new Climate Change (Northern Ireland) Act 2022 achieved royal assent in June 2022 through the Northern Ireland Executive Office. 

Key provisions and requirements: 

Emissions Targets 

  • Net Northern Ireland emissions for 2030 are at least 48% lower than the baseline 
  • Net Northern Ireland emissions for 2050 are 100% lower than the baseline 
  • Net Northern Ireland emissions for methane for 2050 are to be more than 46% lower than the baseline 
  • 5 yearly Carbon budgets (DAERA), 2023-27, 2028-32, 2033-37 by December 2023 
  • 5 yearly Climate Action Plan (DAERA), 2023-27 plan is due by December 2023 
  • Development of Sectoral Plans for energy, infrastructure, industry, waste,   agriculture, fisheries, transport and active travel, by relevant government departments 
  • Establishment of a Just Transition Commission (no statutory timeline) 
  • Climate change reporting duties by public bodies – consultation between central and local government will take place before regulations are made. 
  • Councils will have a pivotal role in areas such as waste and planning as well as showing leadership. 

DAERA Green Growth Strategy 

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Department for the Economy (DfE) and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) would like to engage with local government on their role in helping to meet the requirements of the new Climate Change Act.  

This engagement will be critical to aid the government to inform effective policy and enable timely and effective climate action across all of Northern Ireland. 

The Green Growth Strategy will be the primary cross-departmental strategy that will deliver the requirements of the Act, once it is agreed upon by the Executive. 

Climate and Sustainability Governance in Council 

UN Sustainable Development Goals
Future Climate Legislation Targets
NI Programme for Government
Mid & East Antrim Local Development Plan
Mid & East Antrim Community Plan
Mid & East Antrim Corporate Plan
delivered by
Mid & East Antrim Climate and Sustainability Policy
supported by
Environmental Management System
Energy Strategy
Biodiversity Strategy
Annual Business Plans
Council Policies and Procedures
Climate Adaption Plan Agile Framework

Climate and Sustainability Policy 

Council has developed a Climate and Sustainability Policy which is now operational across all services.

Council will be launching our Climate Action Plan in March 2023. Council has now planned a target date of 2033 to reach net-zero emissions. We also plan to help the wider borough reach net-zero by 2045.  

This demonstrates our commitment to take action to address climate change and deliver a sustainable, low-carbon future.

To meet this commitment, the Council will: 

  • Monitor and manage our use of natural resources as an organisation, including reducing carbon emissions, as well as championing sustainability as a community leader; 
  • Consider sustainable development and climate change when formulating all new policies and plans and in making decisions; 
  • Regularly report on progress in delivering our sustainability objectives; and 
  • Ensure that Elected Members and Council Officers are regularly briefed on sustainability issues and environmental policies and practices. 
  • The Policy addresses all sustainability, biodiversity and environmental statutory requirements as well as any future legislative requirements on climate change and the environment. It is aligned to the strategic priorities in Council’s Community and Corporate Plans and the Programme for Government draft Outcomes. 

Climate Action Plan 

The Climate Action Plan will include both climate adaptation and mitigation plans which will align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Through these external and internal plans, we will: 

• reduce our own carbon footprint 

• reduce the borough’s pollution and noise 

• reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings  

• promote cycling, walking and public transport 

• promote a green economy 

• build resilience to flooding and other climate risks  

• plant 58,000 trees by 2024 

• promote and support clean transport technology and infrastructure 

• help our residents to reduce their carbon footprints 

• use green procurement 

Council reduces its impact on the environment year after year through its Environmental Management System, accredited to the international standard ISO14001.

Annual reports are available to view in our Environment Reporting section.

Partnership actions to date 

On our journey to tackle climate change, we are: 

  • working in partnership with Climate NI to prepare a Climate Adaption Plan. 
  • working with the Mid and East Antrim Regional Community Resilience Group. 
  • members of climate-related networks including APSE Energy. 
  • continuing to deliver the MEA4Trees campaign. 
  • worked in partnership with local body Sustainable NI to develop Council’s Climate and Sustainability Policy working in partnership with Sustainable NI to develop Council’s Climate Action Plan to become carbon neutral. 

We are leading by example through: 

  • establishing an All-Party Climate Change Working Group. 
  • resourcing a role in the organisation dedicated to climate and sustainability management 
  • developing a Climate Action Plan with a supporting Climate Adaption Plan for Mid and East Antrim to ensure our services and communities are more resilient to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, storms and heat. 
  • producing an annual Environmental Performance and Carbon Footprint Report.  
  • buying electricity from renewable sources. 
  • future-proofing our fleet by replacing with low-emission vehicles where practical and economical. We have three electric vans in the fleet.