Local Authority Strategies
Local Authorities play a crucial role in helping the country adapt to the effects of climate change. Specifically, local government plays a vital role in planning for, and responding to, emergency situations arising from extreme weather events. Given their close relationship with the community, local authorities can respond faster and more effectively to local climate events than other government agencies, as has been demonstrated in their response to extreme weather events in Ireland over recent years.
Until 2012, the Irish Government did not require Local Authorities to prepare climate change strategies. That said, Local Authority Development Plans were subject to Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs), which required a climate impact assessment. In 2012, with the publication of the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework, local authorities were mandated to integrate climate change adaptation (as well as mitigation) considerations into their statutory plans. Several county councils also prepared stand-alone climate change strategies (Kilkenny, Cork, North Tipperary, South Tipperary and Waterford County Councils, for example), details of which can be found in the EPA's 2013 report "Co-ordination, Communication and Adaptation for Climate Change in Ireland: an Integrated Approach".
As part of the National Adaptation Framework published in January 2018 however, all local authorities are now required to develop standalone climate change adaptation strategies, whilst also ensuring that they complement adaptation plans to be prepared on a sectoral basis (e.g. transport, energy, health). The EPA published a Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guideline in 2016 which aims to assist local authorities in the development of local climate change adaptation strategies. Once developed, local authority adaptation strategies will be used to inform development plans and other statutory plans of the local authority.
The National Adaptation Framework also sets out the basis of how local authorities might adopt a joint or regional approach to adaptation planning. The joint/regional approach harnesses the potential to group certain local authorities based on similar geographical/topographical attributes and on the basis of existing links in addressing threats and impacts of severe weather events and ongoing climate change risks. The 4 geographical/topographical areas that will be covered by the offices are:
- Atlantic Seaboard North – Counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Galway
- Atlantic Seaboard South – Counties Clare, Limerick, Kerry, Cork and Waterford
- Dublin Metropolitan – South Dublin, Fingal, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Dublin City Council
- Eastern and Midlands area – All remaining counties
Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs)
Dublin Metropolitan Climate Action Regional Office has been newly established as one of the four regional climate change offices in Ireland that has been set up in response to Action 8 of the National Adaptation Framework (NAF).The Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) are operated by a lead Local Authority in four different regions grouped according to shared climate change risks. Dublin CARO will work with departments to align actions from sectoral adaptation plans with Dublin Local Authorities. Each Dublin Local Authority (Dublin City Council, Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council) has developed its own Climate Action Plan. To learn more about the plans and their actions please visit the CODEMA website.
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