2.3 National Context

Dúnta22 Nol, 2020, 09:00 - 12 Már, 2021, 17:00

2.3 National Context

The Government has identified Climate Change as the most important long-term challenge facing Ireland. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 is a landmark national milestone in the evolution of climate change policy in Ireland. It provides the statutory basis for the purpose of pursuing the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable society. It gave statutory authority to both the National Mitigation Plan (NMP), published in 2017 and the National Adaptation Framework (NAF) published in 2018. Kilkenny County Council’s Local Adaptation Strategy forms part of the National Adaptation Framework.


Figure 2.1 Climate Change Policy Framework

Climate change will have a profound change on Ireland’s political and administrative systems into the future, setting out governance arrangements including the carbon-proofing of government policies, the establishment of carbon budgets, the strengthening of the Climate Change Advisory Council and providing greater accountability to the Oireachtas.  Figure 2.1 above shows how our approach to Climate change will impact on everything we do.

National Mitigation Plan 2017 (NMP)

The NMP represented an initial step in transitioning Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. It is a whole-of-Government Plan, and the sectors of Electricity Generation, the Built Environment, Transport and Agriculture. The Plan included over 100 individual actions for ministers and public bodies to implement and begin the process of developing medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.

National Adaptation Framework 2018 (NAF)

National Adaptation Framework (NAF), complements the mitigation approach by addressing the climate resilience challenge. The NAF specifies the national strategy for the application of adaptation measures in different sectors and by local authorities in their administrative areas in order to reduce the vulnerability of the State to the negative effects of climate change and to avail of any positive effects that may occur. A key action under NAF requires each local authority in the country to prepare local climate adaptation strategies.

Climate Action Plan

The Government published its Climate Action Plan in June 2019.  The plan sets out 183 actions which, for the first time, show how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Action Plan sets out inter alia the following targets:


  • Increase reliance on renewables from 30% to 70% adding 12GW of renewable energy capacity (with peat and coal plants closing).


  • Design policy to get circa 500,000 existing homes to upgrade to B2 Building Energy Rating (BER) and 400,000 to install heat pumps
  • Require at least one recharging point in new non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces
  • All Public Buildings to reach BER ‘B’ Rating


  • Accelerate the take up of EV cars and vans so that we reach 100% of all new cars and vans being EVs by 2030
  • Raise the blend proportion of biofuels in road transport to 10% in petrol and 12% in diesel
  • Zero emission postal deliveries in Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford by 2020


  • Deliver substantial verifiable greenhouse gas abatement through adoption of a specified range of improvements in farming practice in line with recommendations from Teagasc

Enterprise and Services

  • Embed energy efficiency, replacement of fossil fuels, careful management of materials and waste, and carbon abatement across all enterprises and public service bodies

Waste and the Circular Economy

  • Develop coherent reduction strategies for plastics, food waste, and resource use

Under the Built Environment section of the plan, three specific actions were identified for Local Authorities:


Introduce minimum BER standards in the Local Authority social housing stock as part of retrofit works being carried out on older stock or refurbishment of vacant dwellings


Develop and establish a climate-action toolkit and audit framework for Local Authority development planning to drive the adoption of stronger climate action policies in relation to the patterns and forms of future development


Roadmap to develop supply chain to support the phase out of fossil fuel boilers in new dwelling

Source: Climate Action Plan p83


Through this City and County Development Plan the Council has adopted the relevant policies and objectives to guide the pattern and form of development to mitigate the impact of new development on climate change. 

National Planning Framework

National Strategic Outcome Objectives 8 (Build Climate Resilience) and 9 (Support the transition to low carbon and clean energy) under National Strategic Outcome 8 “Transition to a Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Society”.

The Council has pursued an agenda of compliance with the National Planning Framework outcomes in relation to the spatial allocation of new development.

This has been achieved by incorporating the policy for compact growth of settlement and by providing for 30% of new development to be within the footprint of existing settlements, the integration of land use and transportation and the further development of the concept of the 10 minute city for Kilkenny city.

National Development Plan

Under the National Development Plan (NDP) a Climate Action Fund has been established with an allocation of at least €500m to 2027.

Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy

The Southern Regional Assembly supports the implementation of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019[1], and the RSES has identified three priority areas for action to address climate change and to bring about a Transition to a Low Carbon Economy and Society:

  • Decarbonisation;

It is an objective of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy to develop a Regional Decarbonisation Plan to provide a framework for action on de-carbonisation across all sectors.

  • Resource Efficiency;

Resource efficiency means using the Earth's limited resources in a sustainable manner while minimising impacts on the environment. Climate Action Plan Target for Ireland is a 70% in GHG emissions with at least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030.

  • Climate Resilience.

Climate adaptation aims to reduce the vulnerability of our environment, society and economy to the current and future risks posed by climate change. It focuses on short-term and long-term responses to climate change by taking a cross-cutting themed approach for all key sectors of Government, society, and the economy.

Climate Action Regional Office

Four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) were established as Centres of Excellence, to deliver on the local government sector’s obligations under the Climate Act 2015.  Kilkenny County is located within the Eastern and Midlands area and the Council is a Partner County, in CARO to the lead authority – Kildare. As a Partner County, Kilkenny County Council will have a full-time staff member of the Eastern & Midlands CARO based in Kilkenny to assist in the roll out of the CARO work programme over the next five years.

The CAROs are based on distinct geographic/ topographic characteristics and are key to enabling local authorities develop and roll out climate action strategies in a coordinated response to national and regional policy at a local level.


[1] RSES chapter 5

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