Committee for the Economy: Energy Strategy Report

Part of Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:30 pm on 23rd November 2020.

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Photo of Clare Bailey Clare Bailey Green 4:30 pm, 23rd November 2020

I accept those points, but I have had conversations with electric vehicle owners who have given them up because of bad infrastructure, so that issue needs to be tackled. The existing charging network is outdated, not reliable and needs to be urgently upgraded and extended. We suggest that the Minister for the Economy and the Minister for Infrastructure work together with the owners and operators of the existing network to find a way to get more investment and unlock the potential of electric vehicles in Northern Ireland, because, if we do not build it, they will not come.

Another key area is building regulations, and that has been mentioned. Today, we still build homes that are not adequately insulated and which use fossil-fuel boilers for heating, and we heard a little about that during Question Time. We suggest that we need to move quickly to change the building regulations so that we design and build for the future zero-carbon world. We urge the Minister of Finance to produce immediately the technical documentation on the requirement for any new buildings being erected to be nearly zero-energy buildings. We need this as soon as is physically possible so that the regulations work seamlessly with the Communities Minister's announcement about the Housing Executive and the proposals to build more homes where they are needed. Let us not be content with another issue that we know needs addressed failing to be delivered on time. We are already behind. Until these measures are made and mandated, all we will continue to do is stack up more problems for the future.

Another key area, as has been mentioned, is the grid investment.