Minister Ryan launches all 31 Local Authority Climate Action Plans in Ennis, County Clare

  • Local Authority Climate Action Plans reflect the ambition of local authorities to take climate action and improve quality of life

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, today attended the official launch event for the Local Authority Climate Action Plans in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, County Clare.

All 31 local authorities have been preparing their local climate plans over the past year and all plans have now been adopted by the elected members. The launch is being organised by CARO, the Climate Action Regional Offices.

Completing the local climate plans is a milestone for the local government sector. Collectively there are almost 4,000 actions set out across all the local plans. They list practical climate measures to be completed in each local authority area over the next five years.

Each climate plan is built on a strong evidence base. To help inform the plans, all local authorities developed a Climate Change Risk Assessment which sets out the likely risks is terms of climate change, such as increased rainfall or flooding. They also did a Baseline Emissions Inventory which calculates the emissions within the local authority area and sets out emission by sector such as transport, the built environment and agriculture.

Each of the local authorities selected a part of their administrative area – a Decarbonising Zone – where they will pilot and test new actions and projects in collaboration with key stakeholders to help move towards a net zero carbon future.

The plans demonstrate the ambition, focus and commitment of each local authority to reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life for people living, working and studying in each county.

Speaking about the event and local authorities’ role in climate delivery, Minister Ryan said:

“The climate is changing more quickly and unpredictably than scientists expected. We can see the impacts all around us – flooding, heatwaves, droughts. Local government has a key role to play in tackling climate change. They act as local leaders, champions and work closely with communities on the ground across a range of key areas, from housing to transport. They use their extensive knowledge of the natural and built environments in their areas to make a real difference.

“The new local authority climate action plans will enhance local government’s ability to act. For the first time, all the climate related actions have been brought together into one document, serving as a focal point and the manual for each local authority and their climate journey. These plans will, over time, help us as a country to meet our national climate targets and will bring extra benefits such as making our air cleaner, our streets and public spaces quieter, and bringing more biodiversity and green spaces into where we live.”

Speaking on behalf of the local government sector, John McLaughlin, Chair of the County and City Management Association Climate Action, Transport, Circular Economy, and Networks Committee said:

“Each local authority climate action plan was developed to respond to the unique challenges and opportunities of its area. The plans are based on research, consultation, and real understanding, and that is why they will have a significant impact in our cities and counties, and collectively for Ireland. Local authorities have been taking a lead on climate action for some time and now with 31 plans in place, we can build on this in a strategic, integrated and measurable way.

“I am delighted to see members of the climate teams from the 31 local authorities gathered in Clare today to collaborate and learn from each other. They will all play a vital role in driving the climate action plans forward, supporting across all local authority departments to help achieve our targets.”

Local authorities have worked over the past 12 months to engage with citizens, local businesses, public bodies and community organisations to inform their thinking around actions and priorities. Whilst working to national guidelines with set parameters, each plan is bottom-up and locally created; each plan is tailored to its local area.

Over the past two years each local authority has received funding from Government to assist them with developing their local plans, totalling almost €8 million, and this set to continue over the coming years.

The local authority climate action plans will help local authorities to address, in an integrated way, the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation and strengthen the alignment between national climate policy and the delivery of effective local climate action.

The local climate plans will be closely monitored by the local authorities to ensure that their projects are on track and will develop implementation plans with more detail on delivery. They will report to the local government sector and the supporting department, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, on key indicators.

The launch will also serve as a networking event for the local authority staff who have been writing the climate plans. It includes a day of study visits to interesting climate projects in County Clare and will give the participants the opportunity to meet colleagues across all local authorities and share learning and experiences.