Council outlines prime climate change concerns for Limerick

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Email:

normap@limerickleader.ie

Council outlines prime climate change concerns for Limerick

Flood prevention measures in vulnerable areas such as Foynes featured among councillors' concerns

THE key risks facing Limerick as a result of climate change are river flooding, heat waves and coastal flooding, councillors were told this week. 

 Already, extreme weather events during the years 2014-208  have cost the council €9.46m.  

But the council believes its “considerable experience” in dealing with extreme weather events and “the procedures that are in place form a useful foundation on which to base adaptation actions”. 

These actions are contained in the Climate Adaptation Strategy draft report which went through a public consultation process in May and June and was presented to councillors on Monday for approval. 

The Climate Adaptation Strategy is about responding to the impacts of climate change, Darren McGuigan told Monday’s meeting, adding that a Climate Mitigation Strategy, responding to the causes of climate change, will be brought forward in the next three to six months. 

The aim of the adaptation strategy is “to mainstream climate adaptation in all the functions and activities” of the council with objectives outlined for the short, medium and long-term across a number of areas. These areas are  Extreme Weather Response, Land Use and Planning, Infrastructure and Built Environment, Environment, Economic Development and Emerging Issues. 

One action includes switching to energy efficient public lighting, with €10m to be set aside for this next year. Another involves assessing the vulnerability of cultural and built heritage including graveyards. Yet another involves drawing up a database of housing stock and their BER ratings and including more use of sunlight in the design of homes. The strategy commits the council to identifying areas susceptible to flooding and a review of flood risk management policies. 

In all there are 41 actions outlined and a climate adaptation team with senior staff is in place to give effect to the strategy, Mr McGuigan said. 

Cllr Emmett O’Brien said that flooding of land near Askeaton Ballysteen was “basically down to poor work by the OPW” and he asked what the input of the OPW would be particularly given the impact on farming?

Cllr Kevin Sheahan called for an investigation into how flood defences were breached allowing saline water on to farmland.