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Local councils will work under new 'carbon proofing' charter introduced by Government today

It is part of a wider overhaul of climate action measures within the Climate Action Plan.

Image: Sam Boal

A NEW CHARTER will be introduced today which will set the direction for local councils in a bid to tackle climate change. 

A range of new measures will be adopted requiring all 31 councils to proactively consider the carbon impact of decisions they make. 

Each council must establish a procedure for “carbon-proofing” major decisions, programmes and projects, including investments in transport and energy infrastructure.

They will be required to deliver a 50% improvement in energy efficiency over the next 10 years, and ensure all suppliers provide information on their carbon footprint along with steps they plant o take to reduce its impact. 

This will include deep retrofits of local authority buildings and social housing stock, cycle network plans for all major cities; sustainable transport for all cities with more than 75,000 people; training for local authority staff; and the roll out of electric vehicle charging networks. 

Speaking of the new charter, which was announced in the Government’s climate action plan, Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said tackling climate change must be at the top of the agenda. 

1552 Richard Bruton_90583421 (1) Minister Richard Bruton will sign the charter today. Source: Leah Farrell

“Last year’s emissions figures show that we do not have time to waste. We must drive forward actions in the Climate Action Plan. Only through consistent, sustained action, can we deliver the step change that is needed.”

A feature of the new charter will be local citizen engagement, particularly with young people, and collaboration on climate action initiatives with local community groups, local enterprises, as well as schools and higher level institutions. 

Councils will also have to report how they are implementing the initiatives under the charter every year. 

“Local authorities have huge ambitions for what we can achieve in the area of climate action,” Michael Walsh, chair of the County and City Management Association said. 

“With support from central government we can do even more and provide the on-the-ground leadership needed to make Ireland a global leader in climate action.

“The Local Authority Climate Action Charter is the blueprint for future progress in creating an Ireland that is sustainable for future generations, and councils around the country are ready to take the lead in this vital work.”

State agencies

Earlier this year, the minister revealed the approach for all state agencies towards a more climate-friendly framework. 

One of the new initiatives will see new public procurement framework contracts for electric vehicles be introduced.

This will allow public bodies to purchase electric vehicles with reduced administrative burden.

State bodies like An Post and Inland Fisheries Ireland have already committed to electrifying their fleets.  

Under the government’s new initiative, the mandate will require public service bodies to meet a group of requirements, with additional obligations placed on larger public service organisations.

Specific timelines for targets will be set for departments and State agencies. Some of the targets include every public building with public access to display an up-to-date Display Energy Certificate.

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