Posted on Thursday 22 March 2012 by Stuart Hackney

New round of BITES programme open for recruitment

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile with previous participants of the BITES programme - Ivan Martin from the North Down Group and Louise Butler from McKinty and Wright Solicitors.

Businesses across Belfast can once again benefit from making environmental cost savings in their workplace while boosting profits at the same time.

They can now sign up to take part in the next round of the BITES (Business Improvements Through Environmental Solutions) Programme which is funded by Belfast City Council with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

BITES is a business development initiative designed to help companies reduce waste and energy, boost profits and help the environment. Running for the last two years in the city, the programme’s success has meant that it has now expanded to the district council areas of Carrickfergus, Lisburn and Newtownabbey.

The one-year programme helps businesses to identify opportunities to reduce their use of and better manage resources, namely materials, water, waste and energy which will lead to increasing profits and improved business competitiveness and sustainability. 22 local businesses have completed the programme over the last two years and collectively have identified in excess of £320,000 worth of collective savings through the support provided.

Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The council’s BITES programme is aimed at encouraging businesses improve their environmental performance with a view to enhancing profits through greater resource efficiency and business competitiveness.

“Sustainability is a key issue for industry and ensuring the participation of businesses in delivering a sustainable future is crucially important,” he added.

Adrian Quinn from Mascott Construction was a previous participant in the programme.

“For businesses in the current economic climate, BITES is a first class programme,” he said.

“It assisted Mascott with the development of our ISO 14001 audit and for the first time in 11 years, we demonstrated real improvements through our ISO system. The programme really got us on the ball.”

Ivan Martin from the North Down Group picked up an award for the most improved business at last September’s BITES Programme Awards ceremony.

He said: “The BITES Programme enabled our company to take a step back and re-assess our operational costs in key areas. As a result, we implemented resource saving measures such as improved insulation in our refrigeration plant, installing more energy efficient lighting and significantly increasing our recycling rates.”

The current BITES programme is open to 35 businesses within the four council areas and is targeted at non Invest NI client businesses who have a combined resource spend (water, waste and energy) of less than £60,000, with the majority of places being awarded to companies with a combined resource spend of £30,000 or less.

The next round of the programme is scheduled to take place in April and businesses who want to take part should contact Belfast City Council’s Economic Development Unit on 028 9091 8771 or email kellands@belfastcity.gov.uk.

Further information on the programme can also be found on www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessprogrammes.

BITES is funded by Belfast City Council, Carrickfergus Borough Council, Lisburn City Council, Newtownabbey Borough Council, Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund through the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

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