Planning for Climate Change Adaptation – EPA publishes guidance for local authorities

The EPA has published Guidelines to make it easier for local authorities to plan for the inevitable consequences of climate change. The Guidelines were officially launched by Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in Athlone on May 25th 2016.

The Climate Action & Low Carbon Development Act 2015 which was signed into law in December 2015 requires the government to prepare a national Climate Change Adaptation Plan called the National Adaptation Framework.  This framework will specify adaptation measures required in key government departments (sectors) such as transport, energy, agriculture, but also measures required by Local Government.  In December 2015 in Paris, 195 nations agreed the text of a global UN Climate Change agreement. One of the crucial aspects of this agreement was a call to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with climate impacts through Adaptation measures, and the requirement that nations submit adaptation communications to the UN, in which they detail their adaptation priorities, support needs and plans. The National Adaptation Framework as required in the Act will, by December 2017, specify measures required by Sectors and Local Authorities in order to reduce the vulnerability of the State to the negative effects of climate change and to avail of positive effects of climate change as may occur.

The recently published Guidelines are intended to assist Local Authorities in devising their Adaptation plans which in turn will support the implementation of the National Adaptation Framework, and associated international commitments.  The Guidance can be used by a local authority to assess the adaptation fitness and coherence of its spatial plans and the other plans and policies under its remit. The guidelines follow a step wise process to adaptation planning and subscribe to an adaptive risk management approach. A link to the Guideline is here.

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