Launch of Linen Quarter’s Sustainable District

LQ BID has revealed its plans to transform Belfast’s Linen Quarter into Northern Ireland’s first sustainable district, helping to lead the collective effort required to tackle the climate crisis. The plans are part of LQ BID’s vision for a reimagined Linen Quarter with enhanced outdoor areas, added green spaces and a greater investment in improved infrastructure for walking and cycling already underway.

To help bring this vision forward, LQ BID has identified key areas where businesses can make an immediate impact, such as energy, waste and transport, and has partnered with local organisations including Business in the Community, Power NI, RiverRidge and Cycling UK, to introduce the first phase of activity this autumn.

Businesses across the District will be offered access to free educational resources, alongside practical initiatives, to become more sustainably minded organisations. These include climate change training to better understand the commercial benefits of reducing emissions; membership of an accredited green energy scheme; more sustainable waste management and Cycling UK accreditation to ensure they can actively promote and support sustainable travel.

Kieran Harding, the Managing Director of Business in the Community, said: “Addressing climate breakdown is necessary to ensure a liveable future, and businesses have a key role to play. Business in the Community is working in partnership with LQ BID to build Belfast back better as we transition out of COVID-19. Chris and the team at LQ BID are showing true leadership and the practical programmes on offer will influence and inspire businesses to make a positive impact.”

LQ BID’s Chris McCracken acknowledges that a collective effort is required. He says: “Our vision is to transform the Linen Quarter into Northern Ireland’s first sustainable district. This doesn’t mean we have cracked every problem, but it provides the focus to make a difference and helps inspire businesses across Belfast and beyond.

“Cities are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and urban activity is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. So, we’ve identified key areas – transport, energy, waste – where businesses have the opportunity to make changes, with practical support from LQ BID. In addition, we will continue to promote regeneration projects that increase the quality of our urban settings and promote sustainable living.”

LQ BID will measure the area’s transition towards a sustainable district through an annual survey, which will measure progress across hundreds of organisations and help illustrate best practice.

Energy is a key area of focus and LQ BID has partnered with Power NI to roll out Green Energy contracts to members with 100% renewably sourced electricity.

Ian Fraser, Key Account Manager at Power NI said: “As Northern Ireland’s leading energy supplier, and a proud Business Action on Climate champion, we are committed to powering businesses for generations to come. We’re delighted to partner with LQ BID in its efforts to create Northern Ireland’s first sustainable district and we encourage organisations across the Linen Quarter to consider the transition from brown to green energy.

“We have also produced a free guide to help organisations find out how to use energy more efficiently. Many businesses may not be aware that they can install energy-saving technology and avail of funding through Power NI under the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP). We’re evolving to be more than just your electricity supplier, so you can speak to us about any energy needs including LED lighting, EV charging, energy management and generating your own electricity.”

LQ BID has also appointed RiverRidge as their preferred waste management supplier, and this will promote recycling and reuse to reduce landfill waste.

Brett Ross, CEO of RiverRidge said: “The waste industry is a critical part of the business cycle in towns and cities right across Northern Ireland, but waste is also a major contributor to the global threat of climate change. Our company mantra ‘Rethinking Resources’ is a daily reminder that our company will continue to deliver innovative solutions and educational programmes that bring about change and help safeguard our cities and communities. A more rigorous focus on recycling, reuse, and the benefits of the circular economy, is necessary if we are to be serious about sustainability.”