*Cllr. Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, pictured with Alánna O’Brien and Michelle Chiperi Aivazova of the Youth Work Ireland SAUTI-Youth Project at the launch of the Climate Action Plan 2024-2029 at County Hall alongside Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council (second row centre), and members of Galway County Council’s Climate Action Team. Photo Boyd Challenger.

Supporting the development of renewable energy projects, promoting a circular economy and reducing carbon emissions are amongst the key targets set out in the newly launched Galway County Council Climate Action Plan 2024-2029.

Considered a significant milestone in Galway County Council’s commitment to climate action, the five-year strategy has been developed following extensive consultation across the county over the past 18 months.

The Local Authority says the Plan provides a roadmap for adapting to weather hazards, such as coastal, river and surface water flooding, coastal erosion, heatwaves and drought, which are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity in line with global trends with a wide range of impacts for Co Galway.

A commitment by Galway County Council to reduce its emissions by 51 percent by 2030 and a policy to ensure new public housing and buildings incorporate the principles of climate action in terms of design, services and amenities is included in the Plan. Its vision around climate action in the areas of energy, built environment, transport, circular economy and land use is driven by individual actions.

Other actions include increasing investment in active travel facilities, encouraging local businesses to reduce waste and use sustainable packaging, supporting the retrofit of community buildings, introducing public water refill stations, and implementing and promoting sustainable land use practices to protect biodiversity and combat climate change.

Launching the Climate Action Plan at County Hall, Cllr Liam Carroll (FG), Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council highlighted its potential benefits which he said, “extend far beyond emission reductions”.

Cllr Carroll added, “The implementation of the Plan will support investment in renewable energy, the circular economy and sustainable transportation, and will create new employment opportunities within the county that will foster economic growth and prosperity. The listening process involved in producing this strategy has helped to identify the goals our county must achieve if it is to make a positive and quantifiable contribution to national and global climate action efforts”.

Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council acknowledged the contributions made by elected members and staff of the Local Authority, as well as young people, community groups and local businesses across the County during the plan-making process. “The delivery of the actions will bring co-benefits such as increased energy security and improved public health and will support our vision of a climate-resilient, biodiversity rich and environmentally sustainable county”.

Eileen Ruane, Director of Services for Environment, Climate Change, ICT. Services and Human Resources said the number of applications received for the recently launched Community Climate Action Fund demonstrates that communities and not-for-profit organisations in the County are “eager to actively participate in building a more sustainable future.”

In the first round of funding, €762,000 is being made available to support communities in undertaking climate action measures. Applications closed in late February, with Galway County Council receiving 55 applications from groups seeking funding support for a range of projects, including the retrofitting of buildings, renewable energy generation, biodiversity enhancement and the circular economy.

“This plan recognises that climate action is a collective responsibility that affects every aspect of our lives and will involve public bodies, individuals, communities, and businesses throughout County Galway,” explained Ms. Ruane. “Being able to turn the commitments set out in the Plan into real action requires effort, but with the wider public’s cooperation and input we will be able to deliver positive change for the climate and for our communities, both now and in the future.”

Commenting on the plan-making process, Michelle Chiperi Aivazova, a Youth Work Ireland SAUTI-Youth project participant said, “This Action Plan is an example of how effective collaboration between local authorities and young people empowers youth to have their voices heard in decision-making processes.”

Progress on the County Galway Climate Action Plan 2024-2029 will be monitored by a dedicated team within Galway County Council which will report to and be guided by the Local Authority’s management team, the Climate Action and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) and Elected Members.

Copies of the Plan will be available at Galway County Library branches and online at https://www.galway.ie/ClimateAction.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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