Counties “should be aware of their carbon emissions” and make plans to reduce them, the planning board says

Each county should know its own carbon emissions and its council should develop plans to reduce them, the planning agency said.

Iall Cussen says local authorities are not adequately addressing the climate crisis when they have been in key positions to take action.

The Office of the Planning Regulator and MaREI research center at University College Cork examined the development plans of all 31 local and county governments.

Mr Cussen said they had hoped to see generous zoning of land for a variety of renewable energy projects and green space that could act as carbon sinks.

They also checked whether rules were in place requiring other developments to be energy efficient, geared towards public transport or active travel, and flood resistant.

Through all of these actions, local authorities could have a real impact on the country’s carbon reduction and climate resilience goals.

He said they weren’t realizing their potential. “Much more progress needs to be made quickly to translate the aspiration to address the causes and impacts of climate change in the planning process into concrete action,” he said.

The study found that councils failed to consider the development of offshore wind, solar and bioenergy projects, district heating and renewable transport. Most didn’t even make it clear what their goals were.

“Few measurable targets were found, even in dedicated climate change chapters,” the report says.

The report acknowledges that developing active travel routes and zoning for renewable energy projects, particularly wind farms, could be controversial, but says councils need to better communicate the rationale.

Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir of MaREI said urgent action is needed to meet the national target of halving emissions by 2030.

“Local authorities can, but currently do not, play a crucial role in translating national climate targets into local climate action,” he said.

He said they would need government support to take on that role, but added: “We need to go beyond a parent-child relationship between national and local government and move to a partnership approach.” Counties “should be aware of their carbon emissions” and make plans to reduce them, the planning board says

Fry Electronics Team

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