Northern Ireland

Climate emergency declared by Belfast City Council

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Council (BCC) has backed a motion declaring a climate emergency.

The motion passed unopposed during a council meeting on Tuesday night.

It means Belfast becomes the third council in NI to take the step after Ards and North Down and Derry and Strabane.

The motion, put forward by Cllr Matt Collins of People Before Profit Alliance, also congratulated the recent youth-led global climate protests.

The council has agreed to produce a report assessing the risk to Belfast's infrastructure in climate-related scenarios.

The report, due in December, will also look at the economic effects of reducing CO2 emissions and the costs associated with developing a climate adaption and mitigation plan.

Cllr Collins said: "We face an existential threat to our planet and to humanity.

"We must act now to thwart the worst effects of catastrophic climate change."

Action required

SDLP councillor Séamas de Faoite also welcomed the move: "Action is now required from government, society, industry and business to end our addiction to fossil fuels.

"No longer can conspiracy theorists or climate deniers be allowed to prevent this action from taking place."

Sinn Féin also supported the declaration.

Another motion was put to the council which, if passed, will see the council become carbon-neutral "as urgently as possible".

It would also see the council declare before 2021 a target year by which it must become carbon neutral. The government has set a target year of 2050.

The proposal would also allow members to request "additional powers and funding to make our climate mitigation and adaptation work possible".

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