Date: 11 Feb 2021
Each Local Authority to identify a decarbonization zone by 30th April 2021
Action 165 of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019, requires Local Authorities to identify and develop plans for one Decarbonising Zone.
Circular Letter LGSM01-2021 from the Department of Housing & Local Government & Heritage was issued to the Chief Executives and Directors of Planning, dated the 10th February 2021, requiring each local authority to identify – by 30 April 2021 - a potential area suitable for a decarbonising zone.
The Circular provides a working definition of a Decarbonising Zone (DZ) as a "spatial area identified by the local authority, in which a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures and action owners are identified to address local low carbon energy, greenhouse gas emissions and climate needs to contribute to national climate action targets". This definition has been informed by a breifing paper prepared by CARO/CODEMA.
The identified zone should consider the main projects that could be implementable in the zone plus potential outcomes deliverable in terms of reductions in carbon emissions. At a minimum, these outcomes must be capable of meeting the Government’s targets for carbon emissions reductions, specifically an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade).
Once candidate decarbonising zones are identified, subject to additional guidance being provided to the sector, as well as feedback from the Portlaoise Demonstrator Project, each local authority will be tasked with developing DZ implementation plans by the end of Q4 2021. These plans should be included in proposed Local Authority Climate Action Plans, as required by the Climate Action Bill, by such date as specified by the Minister for Environment, Communications and Climate.
The DZ Plans will be used to develop low carbon town projects for future calls under the Climate Action Fund and to progress demonstrator projects harnessing a range of technologies and initiatives.
A DZ Working group has been set up chaired by DHLGH comprising representatives of DECC, SEAI, EMRA, CCMA, LGMA, OPR and CARO with a view to assisting the sector in implementing this action.
Further information is available in the Local Authority Portal which is restricted to local authority staff.