Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal . The effects of climate change are clear. It is important to act and for the whole of society to work together to share best practices, to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and address the impacts of climate change. Reducing GHG emissions and preparing for climate change impacts will generate environmental, social, economic and health benefits for individuals, families, and communities. It is important to take action to adapt to the consequences of climate change and to work collectively to ensure that the local authority sector is positioned to build resilience against negative impacts and avail of the positive effects that may occur. Whilst Climate Change policies and mitigation measures are set out at an International and National level, Kilkenny County Council has a central role in the implementation of these policies and in promoting behavioural and attitude change towards climate change. Climate and environmental sustainability are key considerations for councils in their strategic planning and day-to-day actions across all service areas, most significantly in planning, transport, housing, lighting, waste management, and economic development.
An Adaptation Strategy has been prepared for this Plan as part of the requirements of the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (2012). This Strategy will ensure that this Plan will appropriately address adaptation to climate change. Specific actions in the Council’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024 relating to the Development Plan are as follows:
- Integrate climate adaptation and energy actions in the new Kilkenny City & County Development Plan 2020-2026
- Develop policy in the City & County Development Plan to promote local materials and use of sustainable, low carbon footprint materials instead of those that require intense high temperature and carbon emissions
- Develop policy in the City & County Development Plan to promote and advise for the use of environmentally friendly material and appropriately designed new buildings, which utilise orientation, shelter, sun, light, etc. in design details
- Provide sufficient guidance to the Kilkenny City & County Development Plan to ensure renewable energy projects, including projects for wind-, solar- and bio-energy can be progressed throughout the County without significant impacts on the landscape, amenity, heritage and the environment
- Incorporate climate adaptation policies into the Kilkenny City & County Development Plan 2020 2026
- Review tree and hedgerow protection policies in the review of the City & County Development Plan to ensure they support the CCAS and are adequately implemented and enforced
- Review relevant wetland policies in the review of the City & County Development Plan to ensure they support the CCAS and are adequately implemented and enforced
Local Authorities have signed up to a National Climate Action Charter, which commits the local authority sector (with the support of Central Government) to a range of actions including:
- be advocates for Climate Action in policies and practices, and in the various dealings with citizens and to underpin this role through the corporate planning process.
- adhere to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 13 Climate Action;
- aim to measure the carbon impact of our various activities as accurately as possible and report as required to inform relevant local, regional, and national policies,
- implement, in so far as is practicable, measures which reduce our carbon emissions in line with national objectives, and develop a method for planning and reporting on these actions
- deliver a 50% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030 (on the 2009 baseline),
- ensure that policies and practices at local government level lead us towards low carbon pathways and put in place a process for carbon proofing major decisions, programmes and projects on a systematic basis, including investments in transport and energy infrastructure moving over time to a near zero carbon investment strategy,
- exercise planning and regulatory roles to help improve climate outcomes in the wider community and beyond the public sector, by developing and implementing robust evidenced based policy and standards on climate action, through appropriate and relevant adaptation and mitigation measures,
- continue to identify and develop specific actions to be taken to reduce the risks associated with negative climate change impacts and build resilience to these impacts through effective implementation of climate adaptation strategies/ Climate Change Action Plans. The Development Plan has an important role to play in the implementation of climate change actions for example by influencing spatial pattern of development, encouraging a modal shift from private car to more sustainable modes of travel, assisting in the protection and promotion of biodiversity, the protection of trees and hedgerows, etc. This Plan sets out to integrate climate implications to inform spatial choices.
- Support and translate National and Regional targets/obligations to a local level.
- Prescribe objectives and policies to realise adaptation and mitigation actions.
- Ensure integration on these policies and objectives in planning related decision-making processes.
The implications of this approach are that Climate change policies are integrated into all sections of the Plan. Every chapter of the plan is based on this over-arching approach. The text of the plan which is considered policy along with the objectives and the Development Management Requirements are framed in this context. It is not necessary therefore to repeat in each chapter objectives and policies for climate change.
The Council have embedded and will continue to embed climate change adaptation and mitigation considerations in all the policies and services of the Council.