Westmeath County Council Draft Climate Action Plan 2024-2029

Closed6 Nov, 2023, 00:01 - 18 Dec, 2023, 23:59

 

Westmeath County Council

Draft Climate Action Plan 2024-2029

 

Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 frames Ireland’s legally binding climate ambition, to delivering a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 51% by 2030. This will place the country on a trajectory to achieving climate neutrality by the end of 2050. It prescribes that each local authority shall prepare and make a plan relating to a period of five years which shall specify the mitigation and the adaptation measures to be adopted by the local authority, on a trajectory to achieving climate neutrality by no later than the end of 2050.

 

The Climate Action Plan 2023, launched on 21st December 2022, is the second annual update to the States’ Climate Action Plan 2019 and the first to be prepared under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, following the introduction, in 2022, of economy-wide carbon budgets and sectoral emission ceilings. Climate Action Plan 2023 sets out a roadmap to 2025 towards taking decisive action to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero, no later than by the end of 2050, as committed to in the Programme for Government.

 

Westmeath County Council Draft Climate Action Plan 2024-2029 has been prepared to facilitate the transition of Westmeath to a low carbon and climate resilient County. This will be achieved by delivering and promoting best practice in climate action at local level. This aim is aligned to the Government’s overall National Climate Objective, which seeks to pursue and achieve, by no later than the end of 2050, the transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity rich, environmentally sustainable and climate neutral economy.

This Draft Plan has been prepared in accordance with the Local Authority Climate Action Plan Guidelines, published by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in March 2023.

The Draft Plan sets out how Westmeath County Council will be responsible for enhancing climate resilience, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its own assets, services, and infrastructure, to which it is fully accountable for, whilst also demonstrating a broader role of influencing, advocating and facilitating other sectors to meet their own climate targets and ambitions. This is necessary to ensure that the environmental, social, and economic benefits that come with climate action can be fully realised.

 

In order to ensure evidence-based climate action planning, which is crucial for addressing the urgent and complex challenges of climate change and is essential for informed decision-making, the following reports were commissioned by Westmeath County Council.

 

  1. Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) that evaluates the current and future climate related impacts and risks faced by the County Council and the community of County Westmeath.
  2. Baseline Emissions Inventory (BEI) that details the current sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Westmeath County Council and across County Westmeath.
  3. A specific Decarbonising Zone (DZ) with BEI – A Decarbonising Zone is described as "Spatial area identified by the local authority, in which a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures and action owners are identified to address local low carbon energy, greenhouse gas emissions and climate needs to contribute to national climate action targets”. Mullingar Town has been selected as the Decarbonizing Zone for County Westmeath.

 

Strategic goals are informed by the key themes that emerged from the issues collated as part of the evidence base and stakeholder engagement processes.

Themes include:

  1. Governance & Leadership
  2. Built Environment & Transport
  3. Natural Environment & Green Infrastructure
  4. Communities Resilience & Transition
  5. Sustainability & Resource Management

 

The Goal and Objective of each theme is reinforced by a suite of clear distinct actions.  

 

Whilst the Plan requires a whole-of-Council approach, the ownership of the Draft Plan is held by the Elected Members and Executive of Westmeath County Council. The Climate Action Co-Ordination Team will lead the implementation of the Plan and Westmeath County Council will work collaboratively and in partnership with a range of key stakeholders to support its delivery. The adoption of the Plan is a reserved function, and the final Plan will be considered by the Elected Members of Westmeath County Council at their meeting in February 2024.

The community of County Westmeath remain key stakeholders in the delivery of this ambitious Plan and Westmeath County Council welcome submissions/observations during this public consultation period.

 

Submissions or observations must be made in writing no later than 4pm on Monday 18th December 2023.

 

The Draft Local Authority Climate Action Plan may be inspected during public open hours at:

  • Mullingar Library
  • Athlone Library

And at any time online at https://consult.westmeathcoco.ie/browse  

Drop-in clinics in respect of the draft Climate Action Plan will be held at the following locations:

    • Athlone Library Tuesday 14th Nov 6-8pm
    • Castlepollard Library Thurs 16th Nov 6-8pm
    • Mullingar Library Tuesday 21st Nov 6-8pm
    • Kilbeggan Library Thursday 23rd Nov 6-8pm

 

Making a Submission or Observation

Written submissions or observations can be made in one of three ways:

 

1. Online via Westmeath County Council Public Consultation Portal https://consult.westmeathcoco.ie/browse 

2. Via Email with “Draft Local Authority Climate Action Plan” in the subject line to climateactionplan@westmeathcoco.ie

3. In writing (marked “Draft Local Authority Climate Action Plan”) to:

Climate Action Co-Ordinator, Environment and Climate Action Department, Westmeath County Council, Aras an Chontae, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

 

Submissions or observations must be made in writing no later than 4pm on Monday 18th December 2023.

Late submissions will not be accepted.

 

Please consider the following in making your submission:

  1. Please make your submission or observations by one medium only i.e. online or hard copy.
  2. Submissions or observations should include your name and address and, where relevant, details of any organisation, community group or company etc. which you represent.
  3. Children, or groups or associations representing the interests of children, are particularly encouraged to make submissions or observations regarding the foregoing.
  4. Written submissions or observations with respect to the Draft Climate Action Plan that are made within the period stated will be taken into consideration before the making of the Climate Action Plan.
  5. Please note LATE submissions or observations will NOT be considered. You are strongly advised to make your submission or observation as early as possible.
  6. All submissions and observations will be subject to the Data Protection Act 1988-2018, the Environment (AIE) Regulations 2007-2018 and the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

 

Deirdre Reilly, Director of Services.