First Green Party councillor to chair a council committee

Local political history has been made with first Green Party councillor in Northern Ireland to be appointed chair of a council committee

Green Party Councillor John Barry is now Chair of the Environment Committee for Ards and North Down Council.

Councillor John Barry said

“I am delighted and honoured to be chairing the Environment Committee.

“It is a privilege and an honour to take over from Cllr Joe Boyle and I would like to pay tribute to him for the productive and constructive pattern he has established in steering the committee to date.

“Waste management is the biggest financial outlay for the council. I am mindful of the amount of money we spend on waste disposal and this impacts on rates. Therefore, I will seek to work with the Environment Director to reduce these costs.

“I will also be pushing for sustainable and environmentally responsible policies in waste management. Saving money and protecting our environment are not in conflict.

“A good example of this is the phenomenal success of the recently introduced food waste strategy, which has meant we have diverted a huge amount of food waste from landfill, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds as well as turning that food waste into valuable compost.

“A Community Environment Fund has been established from the savings that have been made and this will distribute funds to local communities for environmental projects. This will be rolled out in the coming months.”

Councillor John Barry continued,

“As Chair of the Environment Committee I will be encouraging Ards and North Down Council to take the lead in moving away from fossil fuels, to reduce our dependence on imported energy which makes our economy vulnerable, as well as increasing the cost of energy.

“Of course moving away from fossil fuels is essential if we are to address climate change, the negative effects of which have already affected our council area.

“I am looking forward to the year ahead and working with fellow councillors, officers and citizens and groups in our communities to make Ards and North Down a sustainable, prosperous place and ensuring the council achieves the highest environmental standards and demonstrates leadership in moving towards the economy of the future – a low carbon, resource efficient one.”

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