OEP response to Circular Economy for NI Strategy consultation

Our response to the Department for the Economy’s (DfE) draft Circular Economy Strategy calls on the department to strengthen and improve the evidence base, targets, and actions to delivery and evaluate a circular economy in Northern Ireland. 

We commend the development of a draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland that demonstrates ambition and commitment to environmental improvement while meeting economic and social goals.  

While welcoming the department’s ambition to develop a circular economy in Northern Ireland, our consultation response identifies five key areas where the proposals should be strengthened. 
Dame Glenys Stacey, Chair of the OEP, said: “An effective Circular Economy Strategy is cross-cutting, aiming to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. In doing so, a circular economy can contribute to the reduction of emissions, to protection of biodiversity, and to improvement of the health, wellbeing, and long-term wealth of the people of Northern Ireland. 

“We have taken a strategic level view in our response to this consultation, and seek to assist the Department in developing a strategy that stimulates change across the economy and society of Northern Ireland. We trust our recommendations will be helpful, and look forward to publication of the strategy.” 

Our five recommendations to DfE are: 

  • That the Department engages with relevant government departments, agencies and stakeholders to undertake a stocktake of environmental pressures and impacts. 
  • That the 2050 target is supported by a coherent hierarchy of long-term and interim targets for material flows and sectors, with corresponding indicators. 
  • That the Department clearly maps the interlinkages between the Circular Economy Strategy and all other relevant strategies, obligations, and sectors, both national and international. 
  • That a comprehensive action plan specifying delivery and assessment arrangements, transboundary implications, proposed impact, and funding is developed alongside the final Circular Economy Strategy.  
  • That a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework is developed that takes account of the outputs and outcomes of a circular economy, enabling stepwise improvements, and with clear links across government.

The full consultation response can be found by clicking on the blue button on this page.