The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has today launched a consultation on developing future regulations that will place climate change reporting duties on specified public bodies. These regulations are required to be made under the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022.
Public bodies have a significant role to play in helping to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions which Northern Ireland needs to make, and indeed are now required by law. They are also key in helping Northern Ireland to be climate-adaptable and resilient both for now and for future generations. Reporting by public bodies can help them increase their contribution to Northern Ireland both tackling the causes of climate change and adapting to its impacts. Reporting can do this by driving and informing more rapid and effective action by them.
This consultation aims to build on information already gathered by DAERA during pre-consultation to help shape and inform the development of the upcoming regulations. The consultation also aims to gather views on any potential future support a specified public body might need to help them deliver on their climate change reporting duties.
DAERA welcomes and encourages all public bodies, interested organisations, groups, and individuals to provide their views on this consultation. The views gathered will help achieve the aim of developing well-informed regulations that will enable a fit-for-purpose climate change reporting regime for specified public bodies in Northern Ireland.
The consultation will remain open for comment for the next 10 weeks until 9th June 2023 and can be accessed on the DAERA website.
Notes to editors:
- The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 (‘the Act’) received Royal Assent on 6th June 2022. This Act sets out Northern Ireland’s framework for tackling climate change and reducing emissions, by setting (among other things) challenging targets on Northern Ireland departments to deliver net zero emissions in Northern Ireland by the year 2050.
- Section 42 of the Act recognises the important role of public bodies in tackling climate change, as it requires DAERA to make new regulations which will set a requirement for specified public bodies to report on climate change. The Act requires these regulations to come into operation by 6th December 2023.
- The meaning of a ‘public body’, under section 42 is defined as any person or body with ‘functions of a public nature’ or who is a ‘statutory undertaker within the meaning of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011’. The Act requires the regulations to specify which public bodies will have reporting duties placed upon them, but it does not state who these public bodies should be.
- DAERA undertook a series of pre-consultation workshops with public bodies in the last quarter of 2022, to gather their views on what the regulations could look like, and to help inform the development of this consultation.
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