Climate Change & Sustainability

Sustainability

Council deliver on our statutory duty to promote sustainable development, as provided for by Section 25 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006, which requires Council to exercise our functions in the manner we consider best calculated to promote the achievement of sustainable development.

UN Sustainable Development Goals Summary 2020-21

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". 

What are the SDGs?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

We are actively working towards delivering the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals through the outlined activities below:

To learn more about the SDGs, visit the Sustainable Development Goals website.

Sustainable NI

Council also works in collaboration with Sustainable NI.

Sustainable NI is a non-profit organisation which works with government and others to advance sustainable development in Northern Ireland. SNI is evolving. Established in 1998, they are now a registered charity (Charity No NIC103426) as well as a company limited by guarantee in Northern Ireland (Company No NI038784). They are governed by a Board of Trustees comprising academics and representatives from the public, private and voluntary and community sectors.

They have put environmental and social goals at the heart of what they do and are diversifying their funding base. Delivering for governments and public bodies is the cornerstone of their approach.

Sustainable NI’s vision is to have “A world where prosperity is achieved in ways that are good for people and the planet”.

Their mission is to:

  1. Inspire - we inspire individuals and organisations by sharing stories of success.
  2. Influence - we influence policy and practice by providing technical and strategic support
  3. Inform - we share knowledge about how to address common sustainability challenges

Sustainable NI works with and supports government, local authorities, businesses, and others; acting as a catalyst for positive action to build a sustainable and resilient society.

Sustainable Food Places

Council is working in partnership with Belfast Food Network and Blue Moss to become a Sustainable Food Place.

Sustainable Food Places (previously Sustainable Food Cities) is one of the fastest-growing social movements today. Our Network brings together pioneering food partnerships from towns, cities, boroughs, districts and counties across the UK that are driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food.

Sustainable Food Places is a partnership programme led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. It is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund.

They believe that a transition to a healthy, sustainable and more equitable food system requires not only strong national policy but also collaborative action between policy makers, businesses and civil society at the local level.

Since 2013, Sustainable Food Places have helped places across the UK:

  • to establish a cross-sector food partnership involving local authority and public sector bodies, third sector organisations, businesses and academic institutions;
  • to develop a vision, strategy and action plan for making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live; and
  • to work together to realise that vision through concerted and coordinated action across a wide range of food issues.
  • from obesity and diet-related ill-health to food poverty and waste, climate change and biodiversity loss to declining prosperity and social dislocation, they believe food is not only at the heart of some of our greatest problems but is also a vital part of the solution.

Due to the complexity and interconnectedness of these issues, Sustainable Food Places promote a systems approach that involves and connects key actors at all levels and across all parts of the food system. This approach is encapsulated in the six ‘key issues’ of their framework for action:

  • Taking a strategic and collaborative approach to good food governance and action
  • Building public awareness, active food citizenship and a local good food movement
  • Tackling food poverty, diet related ill-health and access to affordable healthy food
  • Creating a vibrant, prosperous and diverse sustainable food economy
  • Transforming catering and procurement and revitalizing local supply chains
  • Tackling the climate and nature emergency through sustainable food and farming and an end to food waste.

They believe that food partnerships can drive a fundamental shift in local food culture and the local food system and become the hub of a rapidly growing good food movement of active and engaged citizens.

Sustainable Food Places provide grants, advice and support to enable local food partnerships to drive changes to local policy and practice and to undertake campaigns, practical projects and public engagement initiatives.

As members of the Sustainable Food Places Network, partnerships are committed to sharing their learning and expertise as part of a community of evolving good practice. They have also created a national award scheme, based around the framework for action, that benchmarks, motivates and recognises achievement.

Current Sustainability Projects

Electric Vehicle Charge Points in the Borough

ESB manage and maintain the current electric vehicle (EV) charge points in Northern Ireland and their locations can be found on the ESB Group website. ESB have recently been awarded 3.2 million from the government’s levelling up fund to support infrastructure projects. This investment, together with ESB's own capital investment, will replace all existing fast (22kW) and rapid (50kW) EV chargers across Northern Ireland. The project will double the existing number of rapid chargers and will also see the introduction of high power (200kW) charging for the first time in Northern Ireland through the delivery of five high power charging (200kW) hubs in strategic locations. These high-power charging hubs can charge multiple vehicles simultaneously and can provide an EV with 100km of range in as little as six minutes.

Mid and East Antrim actively pursue funding made available by the UK Government, NI Executive and other sources for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure within the borough and have joined two EV consortiums to ensure Council utilise this.

Mid and East Antrim joined the FASTER Project Consortium as an Associate Partner in July 2021 to allow strategic locations within the borough to be considered for rapid charge points. These rapid EV charge points can achieve an 80% charge in 20 minutes. The project will provide a “necklace” of 73 Rapid EV charge points from Western Scotland, through Northern Ireland and the six border counties in Ireland by May 2023, to give people travelling from one region to another, easy access to rapid chargers to progress their journey.

Mid and East Antrim are members of the Northern Ireland EV Consortium Working Group, which formed in early 2021 and is lead by Derry City and Strabane District Council. Membership includes 10 Councils across Northern Ireland, the Department of Infrastructure, NI Housing Executive and Sustainable NI. The Consortium plan to submit an application in February 2022 on behalf of the 10 member Councils to the On-Street Residential Charge Point Scheme (ORCS) which aims to support residents that do not have access to home charging.

Where is my nearest electric vehicle charge point?

Want to know where your nearest out of home charge point is? Check out this handy interactive map to find out. ESB owns, operates and maintains over 1,350 public charge points across the island of Ireland.

Kerbside recycling to 58,000 households

Council provides a dedicated recycling collection service to our 58,000 households. This is delivered through a dual approach using Council’s waste service delivery team and in partnership with Bryson Recycling (dry recycling) and Natural World Products (NWP).

Over 37,000 tonnes of dry and organic recycling is collected and processed each year, which is diverted from landfill. Council’s current recycling rate (2020/21) is 50.65%. We are now tasked with reaching the EU recycling target of 55% by 2025.

Recycling extends the lifespan on the various recyclates we collect. We are constantly striving to increase our recycling rate. What can you recycle from your kerbside?

Council operate under arc21, an umbrella waste management group in Northern Ireland representing six councils in the east of the Province.

Five Household Recycling Centres

Council operate five household recycling centres across the borough. There is a huge range of recyclable materials accepted through the gates. Council’s five household recycling centres collectively recycled 14,500 tonnes in 2020/21, with an average 68% recycling efficiency. What can you bring to your local Household Recycling Centre?

IT equipment recycling

Council is committed to reducing information technology waste. We work with a local organisation who collect old / redundant IT equipment to repurpose. Equipment that can't be repurposed is processed through recycling.

CIRCUS – Circular Economy Social Enterprise Programme

Would you like to set up a new social enterprise using waste materials to create new products or services?

We have an excellent opportunity for organisations and individuals to collaborate and re-imagine new uses for a range of waste products within the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area.

We are seeking applications from third sector organisations or groups of individuals with the drive and ambition to develop a new social enterprise. Applicants must have a team of four people who are committed to attending all sessions on the programme.

Participants on the programme will be supported as follows:

  • Access to a range of waste materials that are available within the local area.
  • Use design thinking and creative problem solving tools to develop new ideas and concepts over a two day period.
  • Support and guidance in product development to test with users.
  • Receive mentoring support from circular economy experts USEL.
  • Become part of a circular economy hub to learn from like-minded social enterprises and circular economy professionals.

Interested? Email: amplify@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

CIRCUS will be delivered collaboratively by Work West, USEL and Ballymena Business Centre.

Sustainable Tree Planting across the borough

In 2019 Council committed to planting 58,000 native trees in the Borough by 2023 as part of the MEA4Trees initiaitve.  That's one tree for each household in the Borough. The project is delivered in partnership with the Woodland Trust NI and has sought to engage land owners and the community. As of 2021 just over 50,000 trees have been planted in the Borough.

The MEA4Trees initiative was officially launched during National Tree Week 2019 at an event attended by local school children, environmental champions and community representatives at Bentra Golf Club.

As well as encouraging practical engagement in tree planting activities the programme educates residents on why trees are good for people and the environment by improving air quality by producing oxygen, storing carbon; moderating the effects of sun and wind; and cleaning the air by trapping dust, pollen and other pollutants. Trees also provide food and shelter for wildlife such as birds, squirrels and invertebrates, as well as for people, and have been proven to increase property value and help relax people by lowering heart rates and reducing stress. More and more research is showing just how important trees are. The MEA4Trees campaign complements a number of UK wide initiatives such as The Queens Commonwealth Canopy, One Million Trees in One Day, and the Woodland Trust's MOREwoods campaign. All trees planted are native species suitable for the chosen site.

Having almost reached the initial target of 58,000 trees. Council and Woodland Trust are now discussing another more ambitious initiative, details of which will be announced in early 2022.

Sustainable Parks and Open Spaces

Council's Parks and Open Spaces team have committed to improving the service area in terms of sustainability, waste reduction and biodiversity improvements.

The Parks and Open Spaces team:

  • grow 80% of all floral bedding in house. This gives staff better control over the propagation of plants, saves energy and emissions through less transportation, and means staff can grow more wildlife friendly varieties. Bedding grown in house lasts much longer, meaning less waste and more sustainable displays in towns and villages.
  • are reducing herbicide use by 15% year on year and are introducing more sustainable planting, such as wildflower and native shrubs, to town centre displays. This is better for biodiversity and the planet by saving on green waste, maintenance and watering.
  • have reduced peat use by 95%. Staff use Natural World Products (NWP) compost and Bulrush compost which is delivered in loose loads, not bagged, to save on plastic waste.  NWP compost is made from residents food waste which when collected goes through a high heat refining process and can then be reused in green space and bedding displays. The team is aiming to be 100% peat free soon.
  • have reduced water waste by making use of borehole water, using smart technology and automated heating systems in growing polytunnels, as well as rolling out self-watering planters across towns and villages. Traditional floral bedding is also being steadily replaced by more sustainable bedding such as native shrub and trees which require much less maintenance and little to no watering.
  • have sown extensive wildflower meadows across the Borough with native seed to boost biodiversity.

Visit our Environmental Reporting page