O’Dowd discusses climate change and Levelling Up Fund at Islands Forum

Date published: 28 September 2022

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has attended the inaugural meeting of the UK Islands Forum held in Orkney.

Minister O'Dowd at the Islands Forum in Orkney

Minister O’Dowd represented the interests of Rathlin Island at the forum where the theme was “net zero islands”. 

Speaking after the Forum Minister O’Dowd said: 

“Island environments face unique challenges and the forum provided a valuable platform for those communities to share their experiences with the UK government and each other in areas such as connectivity, infrastructure and depopulation, while also identifying solutions to common issues together.

“As the North’s only inhabited island, not only was this an opportunity to listen and learn from other island communities, but also for Rathlin to showcase the positive steps being taken to become carbon neutral by 2030. 

“It is vital that we all take urgent action to mitigate climate change and we can learn from the experience of island communities as they take on the challenge.

“Attendance at this Forum was an important opportunity to meet with the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, Dehenna Davison MP.  I put across the case for the North and called for more projects to be funded under phase two of the Levelling Up Fund.

“We need improvements in transport infrastructure as well as regeneration of our towns.  Unfortunately, the absence of a functioning Executive in the midst of a cost of living crisis continues to make our challenges greater.  

“I have raised this again with the Westminster Government and asked again that they to do all in their power to restore the political institutions here without further delay.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Forum was hosted by the Department for Levelling up Housing and Communities
  2. Minister was accompanied by Michael Cecil, Chair of the Rathlin Development Community Association.
  3. Rathlin, like many islands, is ideally placed to pilot a range of initiatives that will ensure green and sustainable growth.   
  4. On a recent visit to Rathlin the Minister was shown the practical day to day changes on the island with the introduction of a new community e-transport scheme, funded by the Department comprising a community e-car and 20 e-bikes. Rathlin also has plans to install solar panels and an air source heat pump at the community run Manor House.
  5. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.    
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  7. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure

Share this page

Back to top