The National Adaptation Framework(NAF) will specify the national strategy for the application of adaptation measures in different sectors and by a local authority in its administrative area. In addition, section 15 of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 provides that a relevant body (which includes a local authority) must have regard to the most recently approved NAF and NMP in the performance of its duties.
In relation to adaptation, local authorities play a pivotal role in planning for, and responding to, emergency situations. Given their close relationship with the community, local authorities can respond faster and more effectively to local climate events than other more centralised government organisations. They possess up-to-date knowledge of the local natural and man-made environment and, therefore, have a key role to play in managing climate risks and vulnerabilities. Building resilience to the impacts of climate at a local level for communities and businesses can be achieved in an effective manner if it is integrated into existing local level planning frameworks.
Given the important role of local government in climate adaptation, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in preparation for the development of NAF has been engaging closely with the sector, in collaboration with the EPA, the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy and UCC to ensure that appropriate guidance is provided and that capacity within the sector is strengthened. Along with a training sessions and regional workshops guidelines have also been published by the EPA laying out the steps that local authorities should take in order to prepare their own adaptation strategy. An online tool has also been developed, hosted on Climate Ireland which gives a step by step interactive guide to local authorities on how to implement the guidelines. Work on provisions covering the local authority sector within the NAF is progressing and will be included in the draft NAF scheduled to be published for public consultation at end June 2017.