The second Annual Progress Report on Fingal County Council’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) has been published, setting out how it will cut half of the County’s emissions by 2030 and in doing so help Ireland to reach net zero no later than 2050. First published in 2019, the CCAP sets out 130 actions across five themes that the council will take to tackle climate change for each sector of Fingal’s economy.
One of the key platforms in the plan is the overall improvement of energy efficiency around the Council, with a 50% reduction by 2030. This is in addition to a 50% absolute reduction in energy-related greenhouse gases in the same timeframe.
In 2021, seven Display Energy Certificates (DECs) were generated for public buildings in the County. To assist on this, Codema, Dublin’s Energy Agency, has guided the council through the procurement process for its first Energy Performance Contract related to the Blanchardstown Civic Offices and Swords County Hall.
Welcoming the progress made, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh said: “While climate change is a global problem, it impacts every one of us at a local level. As we can see in the latest action plan, the Council takes its climate action responsibilities very seriously and is committed to delivering local level leadership in the climate emergency. While many challenges remain, we are making great inroads towards a climate-neutral future."
Meanwhile, another substantial gain recognised in the latest CCAP related to the conversion of 86% of public lighting in the county to LEDs; the council believes the remainder of these will be completed in 2022. The transitioning of the Council’s vehicle fleet to an electric one was also mentioned - Fingal says 50 fully electric road vehicles (or 20% of the current fleet) are now in operation.
AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, said: “We have made great progress in this second year of our Climate Change Action Plan, nevertheless we have much more to do. We want Fingal to be at the forefront of energy efficiency changes taking place in the County, and in doing so ensure that we are not only improving the natural areas and ecosystems we can enjoy right across the region but that we are helping lower our long-term costs by managing climate-related impacts on key assets such as roads, drainage, water, sewer and community facilities.”
Dave Storey, Director of Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel said: “This latest progress report demonstrates the hard work and commitment the Council has shown in delivering against our climate change objectives. It’s important that we continue to take the lead in combating climate change and that we are able to increase our capacity to develop the most appropriate climate actions locally.“
Consultation for a new draft Fingal Biodiversity Action Plan has begun, which looks to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 as required under the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Under the CCAP, this will see the delivery of a climate change resilient ecological network throughout the county, making urban areas and farmland more biodiversity friendly while also improving water quality. It will also include several wetland restoration projects to make space for flood water and the creation of carbon sinks. Restoration of the marine environment and the potential for blue carbon capture will also be explored.