Local authorities will have to prepare climate action plans for each county, according to new guidelines unveiled by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan.

The plans will be developed over the next 12 months, and once adopted by the local councils, will be valid for five years before requiring an update.

As part of the process, each local authority will take stock of its emissions levels and set a baseline for emissions in the county.

Each plan will also include a climate change risk assessment to understand the impacts of climate change and raise awareness at the local level.

Decarbonizing zone

A new decarbonizing zone (DZ) will be identified within each county, which will serve as a test bed for a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures. The outcomes of these measures will assist in delivering the national climate objective.

Local authorities will be responsible for delivering evidence-based climate action through adaptation and mitigation measures for each county.

The Climate Action Regional Offices and the County and City Management Association will assist local authorities in developing the plans.

Minister Ryan said: “This is a new chapter for our climate ambitions and for local authorities, where for the first time, they will create a specific climate action plan for their city or county, reflecting national climate objectives but making them real at a local level.”