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International experts arrive for major transport and climate change event

8 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Transport Minister Conor Murphy said people must work together to tackle the massive environmental challenge of climate change.

Speaking as he addressed an international conference delegation which included leading world climate change experts who arrived in Belfast today for the first National Travelwise Association (NTWA) Conference to be hosted by the Six Counties, the Minister said:

"Decision-makers in the business, engineering, environment and communications sectors all have an obligation to effectively address issues relating to climate change and transport.

"It is vital that key stakeholders have a clear understanding of the potential impacts and response strategies to climate change. This conference will assist them with the development of environmental protection plans by offering expert advice from respected international authorities."

The two day Conference entitled 'Transport and Climate Change: Understand the Problem, Be Part of the Solution' has been organised by Travelwise NI, a Department for Regional Development (DRD) Roads Service initiative, and examines the global impact of climate change, focusing on how the private and public sectors can react to help build a more sustainable future.

International expert and Canadian academic Dr Barry Wellar from the University of Ottawa, acclaimed for his pioneering work on alternative transportation strategies told the conference: "Society's contributions to the problems of climate change far exceed its contributions to the solution. We are faced with many sustainable transport principles but it is very difficult to find evidence of achieved sustainable transport practices. Therefore, this Belfast forum is an excellent opportunity to put this matter on the public agenda."

Other international speakers at the conference include: Swedish expert Mats Dryselius from "ResSmart" whose exemplary work has assisted in making Stockholm's transport system more efficient and environmentally-friendly, and Simon Barnes, Environment Manager from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, who will examine the complex relationships between road transport and climate change, technology and sustainable consumption.

The event is sponsored by Translink, the Department for Transport & Marine, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services and Atkins.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The conference will take place in the Europa Hotel, Belfast on Thursday 8 - Friday 9 November 2007.
  2. Other conference speakers include representatives from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, BT, Merseytravel, Queens University, DRD Roads Service, London European Partnership for Transport, Improwise, TravelSwitch, Translink, Sustrans and Belfast City Council. There will also be creative workshops.
  3. The NTWA is a partnership made up of Local Government Authorities and other public organisations that work together to promote and encourage sustainable and health travel choices. NTWA aims to reduce society's dependence on the car by raising awareness of the environmental, health, economic and social effects of car use. Today there are over 160 members representing organisations within 11 regional groups. Visit
  4. Travelwise NI is an initiative of the Department for Regional Development's Roads Service to promote sustainable transport options such as car-sharing, walking, cycling and public transport.
  5. The 2007 NTWA Conference is a climate neutral event - carbon emissions will be offset with Climate Care.

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