Contribution to NI's first Climate Change Bill

Impact: Public Policy Impact, Environmental Impact, Societial Impact

Description of impact

On 21 July 2020, I became Chair of Climate Coalition Northern Ireland (CCNI), NI's largest civil society network for climate action. In the absence of effective political leadership on the climate crisis, namely the lack of NI specific climate legislation, CCNI colleagues and I began to explore possibilities for civil society to advance climate legislation in partnership with cross-party politicians and independent legal experts. Formed by NI Environment Link in early 2020, CCNI is a network of organisations and individuals concerned with cooperation on climate change issues, locally and globally, in order to bring about climate mitigation and adaption action across Northern Ireland. With close to 30 member organisations that represent, collectively, around 400,000 people, CCNI members include academics, businesses, environmental NGOs, farmers, international development agencies, student groups and youth climate strikers.

Hand in hand with collaborations with Members of the Legislative Assembly and legal experts, CCNI consulted with our members and stakeholders such as civil servants, representatives from agriculture and industry bodies around a potential climate change bill for NI. Following our multi-sectoral endeavours, Clare Bailey (Leader of the NI Green Party, Lead Co-Sponsor) presented Northern Ireland’s first Climate Change Bill to the NIA Speaker’s Office as a Private Members’ Bill (PMB) on 21 October 2020. The achievement of cross-party, cross-community collaboration on such a crucial matter was momentous and saw, for the first time, MLAs from across the political spectrum working in partnership with civil society groups to co-develop legislation. The PMB was co-sponsored by Philip McGuigan (Sinn Féin), Mark H. Durkan (Social Democratic and Labour Party), John Stewart (Ulster Unionist Party), John Blair (Alliance Party), Clare Bailey (Lead Co-Sponsor, Green Party), Gerry Carroll (People Before Profit), Claire Sugden (Independent) and Trevor Lunn (Independent).

Throughout the Bill's development and its introduction to the Assembly, my unique role including providing scientific evidence and advice to key parties (including co-sponsors, the Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and other organisations), undertaking stakeholder engagement activities, giving media interviews, facilitating meetings with various groups, and supporting CCNI activities related to the PMB's progress. In addition, when the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs decided to open an online consultation on a separate climate change bill, CCNI colleagues and I participated in the consultation and provided related information as requested.

Who is affected

The importance of climate legislation for Northern Ireland cannot be understated and groups affected include the NI Assembly and civil society.
Impact statusCompleted
Impact dateAug 2020Mar 2022
Category of impactPublic Policy Impact, Environmental Impact, Societial Impact
Impact levelEngagement


  • Climate Action
  • Sustainability
  • Climate Legislation
  • political engagement
  • stakeholder engagement
  • participation
  • collaborative partnership
  • civil society participation
  • NI Climate Change Act
  • NI Climate Change Bill
  • Climate Change
  • climate breakdown
  • public policy
  • Policy