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Derry and Strabane Council to lead Circular Economy workshop in Belgium

04 March 2019

Derry City and Strabane District Council is leading a high-level workshop in Belgium this week that will see eight Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland cities and regions join with five expert cities in Belgium, Flanders and the Netherlands to share experiences of good environmental practice as we transition towards a circular economy.

The high-level international workshop is organised in cooperation with and funded by the European Commission in the frame of the TAIEX-EIR Peer 2 Peer programme, a practical tool launched by the European Commission in order to facilitate peer learning between environmental authorities of European Member States.

In September 2017, Derry City and Strabane District Council published their Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy, and in an effort to progress with its implementation, has identified a number of programmes and opportunities for learning from other organisations including the TAIEX-EIR Peer to Peer programme that is taking place in early March in Leuven in Belgium.

The event will help find practical solutions to bridging the gap between innovative urban circular economy policy and citizen engagement, embedding circular economy policy into corporate city strategies and local job creation arriving from emerging SME opportunities.

With its 2015 Circular Economy action plan the European Commission has given high priority to the transition to an economy where  the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised. Growing urbanisation in recent decades has put a strain on urban resource use, and is challenging many city leaders to think up new ways to use the shift to circular economy to create economic and social benefits for their citizens. Cities are the right scale and provide the perfect environment in which to test out new models, with some becoming city labs.

Speaking ahead of the workshop event, Director of Environment and Regeneration with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Karen Philips, said the Council’s delivery of the workshop was hugely significant and a very positive step forward in our commitment to becoming a circular economy and zero waste city.

She said: “This workshop will give us a great insight into how we as a Council can raise our capacity to improve our resource efficiency and develop a circular economy roadmap. It will also provide information on eco-innovation business hubs as well how the circular economy can create local-level jobs and commercial regeneration opportunities.

“We are delighted to be part of this initiative and to have received funding and organisational support to lead on its delivery. It will be an interactive and informative event that will allow is to identify solutions to bridge the gap between innovative urban circular economy policy and citizen engagement. Embedding circular economy policy is one of the key objectives of our Strategic Growth Plan and we remain committed to creating jobs and identifying opportunities for SMEs.”

In addition to attending the conference in Belgium on 04-06 March, Council officials are arranging with our partners Donegal County Council and DG Environment and DG Grow, a number of networking and showcase events after the conference to promote and seek the support for a range of initiatives and opportunities that assist across the regions.

Karen concluded: “Our participation in this workshop is a step towards achieving sustainable waste management while creating local jobs that are linked to waste recovery and treatment systems.”

The TAIEX – Peer 2 Peer event takes place on 04-06 March at the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, Leuven, Belgium.