The Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development Sean Canney T.D. today (3 December 2018) launched guidelines to help local authorities prepare for the impacts of climate change.
The government are developing an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Local authorities, as the level of government closest to communities, have a key role to play in this.
Today's announcement fulfils a key action under the National Adaptation Framework. All local authorities will be required to adopt a local adaptation strategy in line with the published "Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines". This approach will ensure consistency and coherency across all local authorities. The Department will review these local strategies once completed, with a view to mainstreaming effective initiatives and sharing learnings both locally and regionally.
Launching the guidelines today in Athlone, Minister Canney said, "We want to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, not a follower. That will require a significant step change across government. Being a leader means acting now, stretching ourselves and seizing the enterprise opportunities in a low carbon economy, including the new circular and bioeconomies. Being a follower means the final costs of adjustment are much higher and opportunities much lower or completely lost. Local authorities, as the level of government closest to communities, have a key role to play in this. The sector has already demonstrated a very effective response to extreme weather events in Ireland over recent years and with the recent establishment of the four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) the sector can now build on this emergency response capacity and drive climate action at local level."
Under the National Adaptation Framework, twelve national sectors are also preparing sectoral adaptation plans and local authorities will work with these sectors through the Climate Action Regional Offices to ensure effective coordination and coherence on actions proposed. The deadline for the completion of both sectoral plans and local strategies is 30 September 2019.
Notes to Editor
The National Adaptation Framework (NAF) represents Ireland's current national policy response to the challenges posed by the impacts of climate change. The NAF identifies 12 priority actions and related supporting objectives that are to be progressed in order to support and advance the implementation of climate adaptation policy at national, regional and local level in Ireland. The NAF was published and laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 19 January 2018.
The NAF identifies 12 key sectors under the remit of 7 Government Ministers where sectoral adaptation plans are to be prepared. The deadline for the submission of these plans to Government for approval is 30 September 2019.
Under the NAF each local authority will also be developing their own adaptation strategies in line with the "Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines" developed for the sector. Local authorities have also been set a deadline for the completion of local strategies of 30 September 2019.
The "Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines" have been developed for, and are primarily intended for the use of local authorities required to prepare adaptation strategies under the National Adaptation Framework. The Guidelines were originally developed as part of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research project "Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guideline" ( 2012-CCRP-FS-14) under the EPA Climate Change Research Programme. The Guidelines are broken down into six chapters, dealing with distinct phases of the process of developing an adaptation strategy.
In January 2018 the government announced it was making a financial commitment of €10 million over 5 years to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) operated by lead local authorities. The offices will have a key role in driving climate action (adaptation and mitigation) at local authority level.