The Local Government Technical Advisers Group (LGTAG) has announced that its president for 2019 will be Andrew Cassells.
The appointment was made at the group’s recent AGM, held at the Titanic Centre in Belfast, which also featured a presentation by former United Nation’s Advisor Jan Gustav Strandenaes on sustainable development strategy.
Mr Cassells (right of picture) is director of environment and property at Mid Ulster Council and is also chair of the LGTAG’s Northern Ireland Regional Group, which is the province’s primary body for place-based directors.
He said: ‘I know only too well the challenges faced by councils’ technical directors across the UK in proving universal services across waste, parks, bereavement services, and in England, their responsibility for flooding and highways which here in Northern Ireland is a Government function.
‘Continued expectations on our teams to transform, be ever leaner and more productive and of course the challenges of creating technical solutions to the challenges we face across regeneration, growth and sustainability. We must not forget the unique position that Northern Ireland holds as the only part of the UK with a land border with another European country and the very close ties between the two parts of the island of Ireland. ‘
Mr Cassells told the conference that beyond the fiscal policies of varying governments and transcending all political boundaries ‘we are now faced with the reality that our current approach to preserving our existence on the “third rock from the sun” is flawed and that the anthropogenic effects of our activities are significantly impacting our ability to live sustainably’.
On completing his year as LGTAG president, John Lamb (left of picture), thanked the sector for its support over the year, which has seen 100% of London’s Boroughs and 100% of Northern Ireland Boroughs actively engaged in LGTAG.
English council membership has grown by 30% and traction around key priorities of sustainability, resilience and highways continue to strike a chord especially 'Transforming the Narrative'.