Public consultation sessions on Northern Ireland’s carbon budget are being organised by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

These sessions will be held in person and online, beginning tomorrow (Thursday, August 31) and will provide an opportunity for people to have their say on how climate change should be tackled.

The findings will then set an agreed carbon budget and targets and will help inform Northern Ireland's first Climate Action Plan.

The Climate Action Plan specifies a requirement for a 16-week consultation on the first carbon budget which runs until October 11.

DAERA will carry out significant stakeholder engagement during the 16 weeks of this consultation to meet with, receive feedback and hear the opinions of a wide range of stakeholders.

NI emissions targets

In June, DAERA launched Northern Ireland’s first ever consultation on carbon budgets for 2023-2027, 2028-2032 and 2033-2037, as well as the interim targets that should be set for 2030 and 2040 for reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs) and emissions in Northern Ireland.

A carbon budget is the maximum total amount of emissions permitted for a budgetary period, measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), with the first period being 2023-2027 and every five years thereafter.

DAERA is also seeking views through the consultation on the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommended 'Path to Net Zero' for Northern Ireland and is keen to hear from individuals, businesses, communities, and other organisations from across Northern Ireland.

The purpose of the CCC is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to parliament on progress made in reducing GHG emissions and responding to the impacts of climate change.


DAERA, through these consultations, seeks to discover new policies, programmes, and approaches to decision-making on investment that are needed to secure the necessary progress towards net zero.

The CCC has a recommended agriculture sector pathway that DAERA is considering within the context of the policies and proposals contained within the ministerial decisions on future agricultural policy announced in March 2022.

These proposals "assume" that there will be a "significant reduction in livestock numbers" in Northern Ireland, based on "the assumption that the consumption of livestock products in the UK will fall and that this will lead to an equal reduction in Northern Ireland livestock numbers".

Feedback is being sought on these considerations from the public regarding many different agricultural topics, along with issues in other sectors, including transport, buildings, energy, business and industrial, waste, and fisheries.

The first of the public consultation events will be held in Co. Derry tomorrow from 2:00p.m-4:30p.m at Foyle Valley Railway Museum and North West Learning Disability Centre.

On Tuesday, September 5, a further in-person event will take place at Belfast City Hall from 2:00p.m- 4:30p.m, while those unable to attend the event in person can join a public consultation online on Thursday, September 7, between 7:00p.m and 8:30p.m.