Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (79)

Seán Sherlock


79. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to proceed with the national adaptation framework to reduce the negative effects of climate change. [7344/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The National Adaptation Framework (NAF), which I launched on 19 January 2018, sets out the context to ensure Local Authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into all local, regional and national policy making.

The Framework does not identify specific locations or propose adaptation measures or projects in relation to sectors. Respecting the principle of subsidiarity, detailed adaptation measures will be developed across sectors and Local Government.

Under the Framework, seven Government Departments (or Agencies, where appropriate) with responsibility for twelve priority sectors are required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans in line with the requirements of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 and the policies laid out in the Framework.

Local understanding is also crucial to getting adaptation right and in this regard Local Authorities will be preparing their own adaptation strategies under the Framework. In publishing the Framework last month I also announced a funding commitment from my Department of €10 million over five years to establish four Local Authority Regional Climate Action Offices. This will underpin a risk-based approach to climate action at the local and regional level, and will provide a coherent and coordinated response to climate change, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation. The Regional Climate Action Offices will be operated by a lead Local Authority in four different regions grouped according to shared climate change risks.

Ireland already has a number of resources in place to assist with adaptation planning, including an online resource and guidelines for both key sectors and Local Authorities. Under the Framework the guidelines will be strengthened to support Local Authorities and sectors in preparing their adaptation strategies and plans respectively so as to ensure that a coherent and consistent approach to adaptation planning is adopted at national, regional and local levels.

In addition, and again under the Framework, I will be putting in place arrangements so as to further develop the online climate information platform, Climate Ireland, which provides tools to assist both sectors and Local Authorities in planning and prioritising adaptation actions.  While the  platform will provide operational support to the key sectors concerned, it will also serve as an educational and awareness resource for the private sector and civil society who also have a key role to play in enabling our climate resilient transition.

Adaptation planning is an iterative process with the NAF and the Sectoral Plans prepared under it to be reviewed at least once every five years in line with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. This will ensure that we adopt a dynamic approach to adaptation planning which is informed by the latest scientific evidence thus enabling Departments, Agencies and Local Authorities to modify or escalate adaptation actions as appropriate.

This week government will publish our new National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan, both of which are critically important to how we implement the NAF. Climate proofing our spatial planning processes and recognising the investments required to achieve climate resilience are key objectives under the NAF and this Government and my Department are committed to seeing that these objectives are met.

In the coming weeks I will be returning to Government to get approval for requesting the key sectors to start preparing their respective adaptation plans, thus initiating another key step in developing a whole-of-Government approach to how we will achieve climate resilience under this new statutory NAF.