CircularChem Centre helping to inform Northern Ireland’s circular economy strategy
Written by Matthew Royle, Research Assistant
As part of a joint effort from the CircularChem policy and engagement teams, written evidence was submitted for the Northern Ireland consultation call, regarding the first draft of the “Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland”. The initial consulation began with an online public webinar, attended by Katie Lamb and myself, to which the attendees could voice initial impressions on the strategy directly to the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy. The webinar was followed up with a formal written response, in which Katie and I prepared, with help from Robert Scott, the Principal Policy Officer for Manchester City Council.
An overview of the responses submitted towards this consultation was recently released by the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy in the form of a public report, which also provided a reflection on the responses received. Our responses must have struck a chord with the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy, as we were quoted in the report, and many of the key takeaway messages aligned with our answers. The two quotes mentioned in the report are direct quotations from the CircularChem submission. One quote was a response to “Within this strategy we have included a target to reduce our annual material footprint to 8 tonnes per person by 2050. Do you agree with this target to halve our material footprint by 2050?” (Figure 1), and another addressed “What would be the most useful platforms to enable people and businesses to share and reuse products and materials?” (Figure 2).
This response to the Northern Ireland consultation is part of the CircularChem Centre strategy to engage with each of the devolved nations of the UK, as demonstrated by the Centre providing responses to different ‘Calls for Evidence’ and ‘Consultation Calls’ in Wales (“Just Transition to Net Zero”), England (“Resources and Waste Provisional Common Framework”), and Scotland (“The Scotland Circular Economy Bill”). The draft Northern Ireland circular economy strategy aligns with the CircularChem Centre’s principles closely, especially in regard to resource efficiency, and coupling strategies with industrial needs. On a personal note, I found the consultation call was a great way to collaborate with others, both within and outside of the Centre. We hope our collaborative and engaging approach will continue to make an impact, and will highlight to others how taking part in consultations with the UK Government, industry and academia can drive for change in a positive way.
A link to the consultation response report can be found here.