Minister Muir Announces Milestone in Meeting Climate Change Act Obligations

DAERA Minister Andrew Muir has said new regulations introducing climate change reporting duties on public bodies such as Councils will have a crucial part to play in delivering and supporting climate action in Northern Ireland.

The regulations will come into operation in early May 2024, 21 days after they are laid in the Assembly. However, the first reports by public bodies required under the regulations, will not be due to be submitted until October 2025.

Minister Muir said: “These regulations are a positive milestone in delivering on our obligations in relation to the Act and reporting will give bodies an opportunity to show continued leadership on climate action within the public sector, providing positive examples and shared learning of what effective climate action can deliver.

“Many public bodies are already gathering some climate change data, but requirements to report under these regulations brings structure, transparency and comparability to that process and will allow sharing of experience and expertise across public bodies which is of benefit to all of us,” he added.

In all, some 40 bodies including councils, health trusts, the police, and fire service, are required to report on their carbon emissions, as well as their plans and progress in reducing these emissions. The bodies will also, report on what they plan to do about, and their progress in, tackling their risks and impacts from climate change.

The Minister’s announcement follows Executive approval and an extended 13-week public consultation period.

“It is important that all public bodies take action to reduce emissions, recognise the impacts of climate change on their functions and have a clear plan in place to reduce these risks and manage impacts,” Minister Muir said.

“These regulations will put in place a climate change reporting framework for the specified public bodies, which can enable them to take informed, and timely climate action.

“This will make those bodies more sustainable and will give them the opportunity to provide a positive example and exploit the opportunities that early and effective climate action can deliver.”

The approach to these regulations is balanced, minimising the risk of undue burden, by requiring only those public bodies which are large sized organisations to report.

Large sized public bodies are more likely the highest emitters, and they can help most in contributing to ensuring a climate resilient and sustainable Northern Ireland, while also having the capacity to deliver on reporting requirements and show leadership in climate action.

Through DAERA’s consultation and engagement it was evident that many public bodies that will have reporting duties placed on them by the regulations are preparing for this reporting and eager to get started.