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Meeting with the Joint Committee on Environment & Climate Action

Meeting with the Joint Committee on Environment & Climate Action

Date: 01 Jun 2022

Case made for additional climate action resources for local authorities

Representatives from the County & City Managers Association (CCMA), the Local Government Management Agency, (LGMA), the Climate Action Regional Offices (CARO) and the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) appeared before the Oireactas Joint Committee on Environment & Climate Action (31st May 2022) to discuss challenges and opportunities for local authorities in climate action.

Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive of Longford County Council and Chairman of the CCMA Climate Action & Transport Network committee gave an opening statement that provided an overview of some of the climate action work undertaken across the sector over the last number of years and stated the ambition to scale up efforts and play a key leadership role locally and nationally in delivering effective climate action. However, he noted that it was clear from discussions across the sector that there is insufficient staff capacity at local authority level to implement that ambition and he highlighted in particular the need for climate action resources across local authorities and for an enhanced CARO. 

He noted that a business case was presented to government in 2020 that identified a number of specialist roles in areas such as climate action coordination, adaptation, nature based solutions, energy & emission management, community engagement, data processing, change management and climate action funding specialists.

Some local authorities have gone ahead and put people in some of these positions, but by and large across the sector that hasn’t happened,” he said, “It’s a resource issue, there’s no point in denying it. There’s great ambition there, but having the funding in place is critical.”

The CCMA and the CAROs have been engaging over the last year, particularly with the Department of Environment Climate and Communications, with a view to securing funding towards the cost of putting these resources in place in advance of the preparation of the Climate Action Plans as required under the Climate Act. It is expected that Minister Eamon Ryan will issue a directive to begin the 12 month process of developing these plans before the end of this year. The CCMA is clear that these additional resources need to be in place in 2022 to ensure that local authorities realise the ambition in the sector to deliver transformative change and measurable climate action across our cities and counties and within their own organisations through leadership, example and mobilising action at a local level.

The meeting can be viewed HERE.