CAP Actions We Are Taking
Operations and Service Delivery Actions
Supporting our foundations and connecting actions are our operations and service delivery – the day to day activities of the City Council. These actions come under the following categories: Our Staff, Our Buildings, Our Operations and Service Delivery, and Our Engagement Activities and Partnerships. Appendix 1 provides detail on how these actions contribute to the mitigation of emissions and adaptation of the city to climate change.
This is Climate Action:
Role: Senior Economic Development Office – Acting, Economic Development Office
What Inspired the Project: We were inspired to commence the initiative because of our ongoing circular economy work in the Economic Development Office. Our awareness of the existing and potential synergies and because of our involvement in European Commission: European Social Economy Regions Project, Green Deal and New European Bauhaus.
SoCircular is about celebrating the social economy and circular economy. It is an initiative that seeks to enhance the social and circular economy models in a synergistic way by creating awareness of the ecosystem and by highlighting business models and innovations; and encouraging people, businesses, organisations and government departments to buy from and support local social and circular enterprises. It facilitates matchmaking opportunities for enterprises, promoting supports, skills development and funding to help enterprises adopt circular approaches and embrace the transition to a sustainable future.
The inaugural SoCircular featured: a welcome address by Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy; a trade expo with social/circular enterprises; 4 panel discussions; 4 fireside chats with key individuals including Minister Ossian Smyth and an immersive programme of social and circular themed arts and cultural performances. Since the first SoCircular event, we have continued the momentum by producing a SoCircular Brochure to further encourage stakeholders to buy from and support social and circular enterprises. We also produced an Outcomes Report to inform policy makers and stakeholders about the key insights and ideas shared as part of the panel discussions and fireside chats. We hosted a SoCircular follow on event as part of Local Enterprise Week which focused on innovation and collaboration and the Circular Economy Hotspot – Dublin 2023 Deep Dive Workshop on Social Enterprise was hosted in alignment with SoCircular.
What do I enjoy about it: SoCircular is about celebrating the social and circular economic businesses in the city and how they are addressing climate change in innovative, tangible, positive and much needed ways. SoCircular purposefully highlights the many positive stories, impacts and examples within these models and among actors such as local social and circular enterprises. It showcases local pioneers who are operating their enterprises in sustainable, impact seeking ways and are providing innovative and tangible solutions to climate change, social, and economic issues.
Santry River Restoration Project
Role: Senior Executive Engineer, Water Framework Directive Section, Protection of Water Bodies Office, Project Manager for the Santry River Restoration and Greenway Project.
What Inspired the Project: The river presented an excellent opportunity to carry out a full catchment restoration of an urban river. Urban rivers have different challenges to rural rivers and much of the effort by Ireland is directed towards rural rivers. Once I started looking at the project, it became apparent that it should be a multi-objective project and involve the communities from the outset. What started as a Water Framework Directive project expanded to deliver the following objectives:
- Improved status under Water Framework Directive
- Flood mitigation in accordance with the Floods Directive
- Habitat improvement and restoration under the Birds and Habitats Directives
- Provision of sustainable transportation options through the delivery of a recreational greenway
- Improved social and recreational amenity within the catchment, informed by engagement with communities living within the catchment
What do I enjoy about it: It’s a very challenging project given the range of objectives and the complexities of both the urban environment and the impacts of climate change (our rainfall patterns are changing dramatically for example). I enjoy trying to resolve these issues and I enjoy my project management role. I also really enjoy collaboration with the communities living in the catchment. Their insight is really informative and helps influence some of the decisions of the project.
Challenges I overcame: Getting agreement between several departments and external stakeholders to establish the project, writing and managing a very complex tender, getting buy in from communities.
Hope for the future: Very simple – achieving the objectives set out for the project. Beyond the technical and legislative objectives for the project, I really look forward to delivering a new, greener and more sustainable area across the north of the city (from Finglas to North Bull Island) which people can enjoy and utilise, and where people, and in particular, children, can travel within the catchment safely and sustainably without having to use the road system too much.
Bridge Foot Street Park
Role: Executive Parks and Landscape Officer, Parks, Biodiversity & Landscape Services, Project manager for Bridgefood Street Park.
What Inspired the Project: Bridgefoot Street Park came about as part of a collaboration between the local residents of Bridgefoot Street and the Parks department. The site was derelict site and was highlighted as a potential park space as part of the 2015 Liberties Greening Strategy. The local community groups started to use the site as allotments and an unofficial play area. The input from the local community was key to the successful design of this park and all elements within the park came about through intense public consultation between the landscape architect, Dermot Foley and the community.
What do I enjoy about it: I love the fact that Bridgefoot Street park is a new one hectare park space in an area of Dublin City with an extreme deficiency in access to quality green space. At the time of the Liberties Greening Strategy, accessible quality public green space in the Liberties was provided at a rate of 0.7sqm per person, which is in stark contrast to an average of 49 sqm/person for Dublin City Council as a whole. The Liberties Greening strategy projects, including Bridgefoot St Park, have increased this to 1.68sq.m per person.
Bridgefoot Street Park is a response to the EU Waste Framework Directive (2008) and the EU Construction and Demolition Waste Protocol and Guidelines (2018). The park build used waste from construction and demolition, concrete and brick, together with left-over stone and recycled glass, in order to construct ecologies. The design for the park is a deliberate strategy for manipulating ecological processes on secondary-raw-materials, using a range of mixes of subsoils, quarry dust and brick by-product, in order to allow beautiful and diverse plant species colonize the waste with ease. These seeded areas germinate, flower, self-seed and develop a naturalistic landscape which is unique to this park, creating a biodiversity-rich environment for pollinators and wildlife in the city.
Challenges I overcame: One of the biggest challenges with this project is that it commenced on site just before Covid 19 hit and the project timeline of 10 months build increased to almost 24 months. This was very hard to keep the park closed as a building site when people were in more need of open green spaces in their localities.
Hope for the future: My hope for this park is that it will continue to be used and loved by the local people who contributed to the design and success of the space.
Dublin District Heating Project
Role: : Executive Engineer within the E&T Department of Dublin City Council (DCC).
What Inspired the Project: : The DDHP will improve Dublin City’s energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while making the Dublin City area more adaptive to the impacts of climate change. The provision of District Heating (DH) took a big step forward with the construction of the Dublin Waste to Energy (DWtE) Facility located on the Poolbeg Peninsula. The facility was developed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between DCC (acting on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities) & Covanta (currently known as Encyclis). With Construction commencing in 2014 the DWtE Facility became operational in November 2017 and currently:
- Processes 600,000 tonnes of waste annually
- Produces Electricity for 80,000 homes – with approx. 60 megawatts (MW) exported to the National Grid
- Has heating potential for 50,000 – 80,000 homes (90MW of DH) which will act as a heat baseload for the proposed DDHP
The main benefits that the DDHP will deliver for the Dublin City area is:
- Improve air quality by reducing emissions and other pollutants from individual heating sources
- Greater de-carbonisation of the heat sector
- Less dependence on imported fuels
- Use of local labour, energy resources and sources
- Space saving in plant rooms and homes as no boilers are required
- Improved safety having no fuel storage requirements
- The heat supplied is on demand, so no energy wasted
Hope for the future: I have been part of the Project Team responsible for the delivery of the Dublin District Heating Project (DDHP) for over 6 years now. Being involved in this largescale infrastructure Project has been very rewarding, as one of the main reasons I got into Engineering in the first place was to be part of projects that can impact on people’s lives now and for future generations to come. The DDHP will have a positive impact on Dublin and if done correctly can be used as an exemplar project that can be rolled out in other areas throughout Ireland.
Dominick St. Lower Climate Resilient Housing
Meet Madeline and Maeve
Role: Architect and Senior Architect, City Architects Division, Housing
What Inspired the Project: The Dominick St Estate was designed and built between 1960 and 1970 following demolition of former tenement housing. It consisted of eight flat blocks on the west and east side of Dominick Street Lower in the heart of the city centre. The new blocks were ‘state of the art’ and provided significantly improved living conditions for 198 families at the time. In 2010 Dublin City Council began a project to regenerate this estate due to ongoing issues with poor environmental conditions within the homes. The project was guided by a masterplan which prioritised sustainable place making. It included a site for a school, shops, a community centre as well as new apartments designed and built to meet the needs of old and young. The first phase of the regeneration – the east side - was completed in 2022 with a new apartment block and townhouses built to near zero energy building (NZEB) standard providing low-energy, bright, healthy homes. The masterplan envisioned similar redevelopment of the three blocks on the west side. However with the need to reduce carbon emissions whenever and where ever we can, and recognition that ‘the most sustainable building is the one we already have’, City Architects with colleagues in Housing department decided to re-think the approach.
Challenges: While redevelopment of the blocks would enable construction of new homes with a very low operational carbon footprint, the carbon cost of demolition and construction could off-set any savings made in the operation of the building over its life time. The core objective of the Dominick Street Lower project is to develop an exemplar Climate Resilient Housing Solution to renovating Council flat blocks, which addresses current questions about retrofit and informs other renovation programmes (public and private).
Hope for the future: Dominick Street Lower is not the only flat complex retrofit project the Council is working on, but it presents a unique opportunity. The blocks are vacant (the residents have moved to wonderful homes across the road) so removing the additional project complexity that comes with working around existing residents. The potential to retrofit three identical flat blocks offers the opportunity to pursue different approaches which can be measured and compared. The visibility of the project on a city centre street beside a busy LUAS stop facilitates public engagement. The large open area behind the blocks can be used to activate community and stakeholder engagement through meanwhile uses. The project is also an incredible opportunity to collaborate with different Council departments and disciplines towards a common sustainable goal. As well as transforming the existing blocks to re-create a quality living environment the project will implement innovative landscaping, create a green oasis in the heart of the city, demonstrate sustainable living, and even maybe look at different affordable opportunities for housing.
Role: Senior Executive Engineer, Traffic, Environment and Transport Department
What Inspired the Project: As summer 2021 approached the city was getting ready to reopen for outdoor dining as COVID restriction were set to be relaxed. On Capel Street, businesses approached the City Council requesting a reallocation of space by converting parking spaces to pedestrian and dining space. As this space was being created we then started to get requests to create Traffic Free space which we explored and determined could be done. From June 2021 Capel Street became Traffic Free every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. It was so well received that the original six weeks was extended to seventeen weeks.
What do I enjoy about it: The best thing about this process is how it was driven from the businesses, residents and the public. Once they started to see the benefits such as the quieter and calmer street they sought to make it more permanent. Trialling these arrangements and having successful projects really helps people overcome concerns and fears they may have. On May 20th 2022, Capel Street became a permanent Traffic Free Street. Since implementation:
- Pedestrian numbers increased by 17%
- Cyclists increased by 27%
- There has been approx. 1.5 million less vehicle trips in the area between O’Connell Street and Queen Street which is a massive reduction in volume, air pollution and noise pollution in the centre of the city.
The street is now undergoing upgrades to provide more public seating, planting and trees for the street.
Hope for the future: Only upon starting this project did I realise I had a connection to Capel Street going back to 1901 when seven members of my family lived in one room in 104 Capel Street. The street has undergone many changes since then but hopefully this latest iteration will improve the street for today’s residents, businesses and everyone passing through.
Testimonies from Residents:,
“Capel Street now feels like a street for living on. Prior to Capel Street being made traffic free, the noise pollution and air pollution made Capel Street very difficult to live on and to use. The improvement in quality of life for me as a resident of Capel Street is immense.”
“It has brought more vibrancy and a better feeling of safety and community”
“I can sleep better at night because of less noise pollution. I feel like I have living space outside my front door that is more accessible than it ever was. I love living in Capel street now that it has been pedestrianised.”
Implementation: Everyone Doing Their Bit
We recognise that Dublin’s success is Ireland’s success, and success requires that everyone is working together. Four essential implementation actions that must be taken for our city’s transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future are as follows:
- Oversight by Steering Group: Proactive collaboration across internal departments, and with external agencies and organisations to implement and monitor the impacts of this climate action plan requires strong leadership from senior management. The establishment of a Steering Group chaired by the Chief Executive to oversee the overall direction of progress and ensure that Dublin City Council, as an organisation is a leading light in decarbonisation, embedding climate resilience, facilitating co-benefits for climate and other environmental factors, and principles of equity in our operations and service delivery. The Steering Group will insure that internal structures are in place to insure ownership and delivery of actions and projects are resourced; and provide quarterly reports to elected members via Strategic Policy Committees.
- Monthly Workshops: Collaboration for interdisciplinary implementation of the actions and to achieve the systems innovation necessary for climate neutrality will require regular workshops to foster a culture of knowledge exchange, to problem solve and to identify solutions to challenges and barriers. At times these workshops will also involve external stakeholders.
- Monitoring: Without monitoring we will not know how we are progressing, what is working or not, and who we need to engage to implement changes necessary for climate neutrality. The actions in our plan are linked to headline indicators and sub indicators as well as our targets. Together the data from these indicators and targets provide a picture and a story of the impacts of our actions on quality of life in the city. Monitoring is also an opportunity for collaboration.
- Ireland& Dublin& You&: Your active participation in the implementation of this climate action plan, which is about safe guarding our collective future is essential. We will keep you informed, engaged and active in this plan through our Climate Newsletter, events and reports to council.
Challenges & Opportunities: Doing No Harm
Why are we taking action? What is the benefit to us?
In addition to the headline and sub indicators used to assess progress it is essential that we understand at the whole city ecosystem level, the trajectory of change by looking at the impacts of the actions as a whole.
This plan for the first time will use a modified health impact assessment to monitor our progress and inform the development of new and revised actions. The Climate Readiness Toolkit in the Appendix 8 is intended to be used to support detailed monitoring and analysis of an action from inception to implementation.
Monitoring: Climate Action
Climate Action Vitals
Climate mitigation actions focus primarily on CO2e, it is not the only measure of climate action success. Nor does it capture the targets linked to climate adaptation actions. Other critical vitals that provide important indicators of success that are linked to our targets for a just transition, climate resilience and 51% reduction in emissions are:
- Weather patterns (rainfall, temperature) and events (frequency and intensity)
- Air Quality
- Water Quality
- Soil Health
- Biodiversity (Flora and Fauna)
- Noise Levels
- Population Health and Well-being
- Social Cohesion
- Economic indicators
- Traffic volumes
Critically, each of these vitals should not be considered in isolation. Their ‘health’ status should contribute to the monitoring, assessment and analysis of an action’s, a project’s, or a programmes’ contribution to climate objectives. However, as mentioned monitoring is a means for collaboration, as data to assess our climate vitals is often held by stakeholders external to Dublin City Council.
 The appendices of the plan provides additional detail on the current state of Dublin’s climate vitals.
Data: Opportunity for Collaboration
The Data Story
The data story of climate action cannot be reduced to a single data set divided across sectors. Emissions from one sector are inextricably linked to another. The consequences of emissions are interconnected and here today.
Dublin City and Ireland as a whole is experiencing changing weather patterns, with periods of unseasonably high temperatures, drought and intense rainfall. This is impacting on our air quality and water quality, as well as our soil quality, which in turn are having adverse effects on our health, and well-being.
In this context DCC with support from the HSE has been developing a Climate Readiness Toolkit (Appendix 8) that brings together qualitative and quantitative data together to tell the story of the impact our actions and projects are having wholistically and from a systems perspective.
Linking Local and National Reporting
Assessing our progress is an ongoing challenge. Data to monitor and understand our progress is both abundant and inaccessible. It is essential that Dublin City Council collaborates with data owners, and relevant stakeholders to collect and to analyse data in a coherent way that insures we are responding to the climate emergency in a manner that causes no harm.
To this end, we need an effective and efficient data management system to know if our actions are having an impact both in our “day to day” activities and over the long term on our National Climate Objectives.
While there is no public sector specific target there are sectoral ceilings, the actions we implement need to be coherent with reporting at the National level. Acknowledging this, where it is feasible and possible, we are seeking to calculate the impact of our actions and programmes on greenhouse gas emissions (embodied, avoided, sequestered, operational); as their impacts will be evident in the sectoral ceilings.
Table 2. Sectoral Emissions reduction targets and progress