Responses from northern ireland to the February 2006 Consultation on the National Strategic Reference Framework: European Structural Funds 2007 – 2013

B3 5. Improving Accessibility and Enhancing the Environment

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5. Improving Accessibility and Enhancing the Environment
a) We welcome the priority to improve accessibility and enhance the environment in order to strengthen the economy and ensure sustainable development, particularly in light of the new Northern Ireland sustainable development strategy.
b) We welcome initiatives to improve the local road network and would be keen to work with Government Departments on this in the run up to 2009, when responsibility for local roads will transfer to local councils. Improvement of the road network is imperative, if we are to have a competitive economy in which business can operate, grow and compete. Initiatives to promote use of sustainable transport should be encouraged, including rail usage. The recently improved Belfast to Dublin rail corridor should be promoted as an excellent means of linking the two cities for business and tourism.
c) Waste management is one of the key issues facing Councils and we would welcome initiatives for large scale waste infrastructure for the recycling and recovery of waste, region wide education programmes on the prevention of waste and initiatives to promote private sector engagement in resource management.
d) We see the use of sustainable energy as essential and we are keen to encourage renewable energy solutions. We welcome the initiative to develop new skills to encourage employment in these areas.
e) We welcome a focus on next generation broadband and we would like to see this level of technology available in all of Northern Ireland, not just in our major urban areas. Initiatives to increase broadband to local SMEs are essential, if we are to meet the objectives of creating growth and jobs.

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