CAP A10 Environmental Governance
Appendix 10: Environmental Governance
The intention of the draft Climate Action Plan is to promote, develop and implement climate actions through process improvements, community engagement, progressive development and integrated learning processes; which will be refined throughout the lifetime of the plan. It is important to note that it is an integral part of the draft Climate Action Plan to facilitate co-benefits for climate and other environmental factors.
In order to be realised, projects included in or supported by the draft Climate Action Plan will have to comply, as relevant, with various legislation, policies, plans and programmes (including requirements for lower-tier Appropriate Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment and other licencing requirements as appropriate) that form the statutory decision-making and consent-granting framework, of which the Plan is not part and does not contribute towards.
These considerations include the Water Framework Directive, a European Union framework that sets standards for water protection and management. River basin management plans are instrumental in implementing the Water Framework Directive's goals, as they provide detailed strategies for achieving good water status and preventing pollution across an entire river basin. These plans help coordinate efforts among various stakeholders, such as governments, communities, and industries, to achieve integrated water management and environmental protection, thereby ensuring compliance with the Directive's objectives.
An integrated approach identifying sustainable land use practices, improved water management, and ecosystem preservation, the plan seeks to mitigate climate change's impact on water resources, safeguarding both the environment and public health. This integrated approach demonstrates Ireland's commitment to achieving climate goals while concurrently promoting a healthier and more resilient natural environment.
As well as the climate focused measures detailed throughout the plan with environmental co-benefits and environmental notes to provide the context within which the action will be progressed, there are several environmental governance principles which will steer future works (see below).
Table 1 Environmental governance principles to be integrated into all actions/activities which result due to the implementation of the draft Climate Action Plan
Promote climate action projects that support and maximise environmental co benefits, such as biodiversity protection and enhancement; improved air, water or soil quality; or enhanced recreation, amenity and cultural heritage value, to ensure win-win benefits are gained.
Support or facilitate climate action related projects and initiatives which seek to make improvements in soil structure, management and health by increasing soil organic carbon which will create the environmental co- benefits of improving flood resilience by enhancing water holding capacity of soils and increasing the level of GHG sequestration associated with land use functions.
Ensure all development underpinned or supported by climate action is planned and implemented in a manner that appropriately considers the potential for environmental co- benefits, potential environmental impacts and environmental protection requirements. No climate action related development project that is likely to have a significant negative effects on the receiving environment shall be supported.
Flood and coastal defense projects, or related maintenance works, shall be carried out in a manner that promotes climate action biodiversity related co-benefits, and shall have due regard for the protection and enhancement of rare, protected or important habitats and species.
Ensure climate action related projects are carried out in a manner that promotes climate action cultural heritage co-benefits, and do not result in unauthorized physical damage to cultural, archaeological or architectural features, or unauthorized or inappropriate alteration of the context of sensitive cultural heritage features.
Ensure climate action related projects are carried out in a manner that promotes climate action water quality co-benefits, and align with the provisions of the Water Framework Directive and relevant River Basin Management Plan.
Promote climate action projects that support protected trees, hedgerows and other habitats such as wetlands, floodzones which contribute to green infrastructure.
Support opportunities to improve ecological connectivity of non-designated habitats and sites to improve overall ecosystem resilience and functioning while supporting climate action within the county.