Alliance Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA has said it is time to ‘supercharge’ town centre regeneration and capture the opportunities of a green economy.
The South Antrim MLA said focusing investment on revitalising and generating footfall would help decarbonise the economy, while creating well-paid, secure green jobs in existing and emerging industries.
“We are facing a cost of living crisis, a weakened economy and more entrenched inequalities. Alliance recognises tackling the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis go hand in hand, and we urgently need a Green New Deal to capture the opportunities a green economy provides. It would pave the way for thousands of new jobs and ensure all of us benefit,” he said.
“Significant areas of potential increased employment and new jobs include the evolution of travel in Northern Ireland. The upgrade of new technology and infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging points will be crucial as we strive to reduce emissions by ensuring local provision near town centres. Charging hubs, perhaps combined with parklets and eco schemes, could become an attraction for our town centres and generate footfall at the same time.
“It is time to supercharge regeneration by supporting and investing in town and neighbourhood centres so they can become more diverse, sustainable and thriving places for communities to live, work and enjoy.
“We want our towns and town centres to be vibrant, creative, enterprising and accessible. We must increase connectivity by building the next generation of active travel networks and digital infrastructure, along with delivering skills and innovation to help people access more opportunities and pursue better careers.
“Ongoing ransom politics and failure to reform the Assembly and Executive is risking our ability to deliver economic growth and improved productivity and spread opportunity across Northern Ireland. We need sustainable, creative, innovative, green solutions, and we need them now.”