Other News In Brief

Scaffolding Firm Intimidated Out Of Job In North Belfast

A scaffolding firm reportedly abandoned work at a site in north Belfast on Tuesday morning due to intimidating threats, it's been claimed.

DUP MLA William Humphrey hit out after the incident in Ardoyne, during which a business owner received a phone call warning him that his scaffolding workers should leave the area immediately.

The local MLA said the threats were of a sectarian nature. He commented: "It is utterly appalling that anyone should be intimidated while carrying out their work. Those responsible for making these sectarian threats will be condemned by all right-thinking people. It is important that that condemnation is clear and unequivocal from across the political spectrum.

"My office has been in touch with the company owner. He was contracted to put scaffolding up today which was to be taken down on Friday. Shortly after three of his workers commenced on site this morning he received a phone call to say that local men had said that these workers were not welcome in Ardoyne and they had to pack up and get out immediately.

"Whilst he says that no organisation name was mentioned and no death threats were made, it was clearly an act of intimidation threatening the safety of his men and he was in no doubt that it was sectarian. He has worked in scaffolding in Northern Ireland for 20 years and this is the first time that he has had men intimidated off a job."

The Carrickfergus company, DB Scaffolding, addressed the matter on Facebook: "Nice wee job started in Ardoyne this morning, told to pack up and get out by 10am for our own safety with a new scaffold company arriving lunchtime lol, I thought these days were over, apparently not."

Locals Urged To Have Their Say On Environment Strategy

Residents of Northern Ireland have been urged to make their voice heard regarding the new Environment Strategy for the region.

Consultation has been launched on the newly-shaped strategy, allowing locals to express views on what the environment should look like in the future, what the nation's environmental priorities and objectives should be, and how they should be achieved.
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SDLP representative John Dallat MLA has called on individuals to partake in the online survey.

"We are facing a global climate catastrophe," he said. "We must take action to address the impact of rising temperatures caused by human generated emissions within the next 11 years. This is no niche political hobby horse – it's an emergency and it demands immediate action at a local, national and international level.

"Any new Environment Strategy must be highly ambitious for our living landscape. We need robust decarbonisation targets, a new plan for land maintenance and habitat preservation, and a new approach to enforcement.

"The DEFRA 25 year plan and work undertaken by the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales gives a good watermark for the standard we should be aiming for. I look forward to engaging with the public and stakeholders as we seek to protect our environment together."

The online survey on the Environment Strategy for Northern Ireland is available here.

Govt Consultation On Business Rates Goes Live

The Department of Finance has launched a public consultation on business rates.

The review will assess the current position and make recommendations to ensure the rates system is effective and fair, while continuing to rause the funds needed to support Northern Ireland's key services.

Launched on Monday 16 September, it comes months after plans of a full and comprehensive rates review were announced.

According to the Department, it's of strategic importance for government to ensure the business rating system is fit for purpose in order to fund Northern Ireland's key services, both at regional and district level.

The system, together with the suite of support measures, needs to be positioned to respond to changing marketplaces and local economic conditions, and should align with wider government strategy to promote economic growth right across Northern Ireland.

Consultation questions and further details can be accessed online.


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