Belfast welcomed Former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore MP today as part of the independent review he is leading of the government’s net zero target delivery.
It’s seeking to ensure that the UK’s fight against climate change maximises economic growth, while increasing energy security and affordability for consumers and businesses.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Michelle Kelly said: “It was useful to meet Chris Skidmore today and to highlight the progress Belfast is making on our journey to net zero as part of our city’s transformation. Belfast already has 77 electric buses and 13 hydrogen buses in service out of a planned total fleet of 103, and with the rail network on track to be net zero by 2040, we’re well ahead of many other cities.
“It’s not just about working to tackle climate change though – we’re maximising business and encouraging job creation while we work to achieve our net zero targets. That obviously takes real partnership – which is already evident in the delivery of our community plan – the Belfast Agenda, our Bolder Vision, the creation of a landmark visitor destination, Belfast Stories, through Belfast Region City Deal investment – and in Innovation City Belfast’s work, harnessing innovation to increase investment and inclusive economic growth through the city’s Innovation and Smart Districts.
“As well as benefiting the environment, achieving net zero is a business impetus.
So that’s at the heart of our Innovation District, which spans 400 acres from the harbour estate into the city centre. When you bring together world-class research centres, 40k students, international companies, and start-ups including Greentech companies – that’s a really valuable ecosystem.
“The Innovation District will also be home to a net zero business park. Cutting edge companies Artemis and Catagen are already located there – and it’s the perfect location for piloting new technology solutions. Combined with Belfast Region City Deal investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) and the Global Innovation Institute (GII), there’s going to be a really comprehensive package of support available for GreenTech – which will absolutely strengthen our ability to achieve net zero targets.”
The MP’s itinerary included Translink’s Weavers Cross, an eight-hectare site in the heart of the city that will become home to the Belfast Transport Hub and will play a key role in reducing car dependency in Belfast.
Mr Skidmore also met with NI Chamber, businesses and other key city stakeholders. He will report back to the Government with a set of recommendations by the end of this year to help accelerate our transition to net zero by identifying key economic opportunities.
For more information, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/netzero