County-specific climate action plans are set to be developed under new guidelines unveiled by Minister Eamon Ryan.

These plans will include a comprehensive stocktake of emissions levels within each county or city, which will act as a new baseline.

Local authorities will then be responsible for delivering evidence-based adaptation and mitigation measures tailored to their area, aiming to reduce baseline emissions in accordance with national targets.

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.

Decarbonising zone

A new decarbonisation zone will be identified within each area, serving as a test bed for a range of climate mitigation, adaptation, and biodiversity measures. The outcomes of these measures will assist in achieving the national climate objective.

The impact of developing local climate action plans remains unclear. However, these plans will pave the way for area-specific actions.

Counties or cities with higher emissions, such as those with intensive agricultural, residential, or manufacturing sectors, are likely to see more stringent mitigation measures in their 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.”