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Waterways Ireland Launches Public Consultation on Its Climate Action Plan

26th October 2021
Draft Waterways Ireland Climate Action Plan front cover

Waterways Ireland is calling on members of the public to have their say on its new Climate Action Plan, the public consultation for which is now open.

This is the cross-border navigation authority’s first climate action plan. Focused on the decade to 2030, it sets out the vision for how Waterways Ireland will reach its key climate action targets.

This includes reducing emissions by at least 51% and improving energy efficiency by at least 50%. It also addresses Waterways Ireland’s aim to be a net zero organisation by 2050.

The draft Climate Action Plan details the seven objectives Waterways Ireland has identified as being essential to delivering on its climate ambitions.

The first two are centred on people and processes: setting out how Waterways Ireland will deliver through collaboration and engagement, and by leveraging its assets. The other five objectives focus on delivering across climate mitigation and climate adaptation. The integrated objectives align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Commenting on the plan, Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh said: “Waterways Ireland is the custodian of Ireland’s inland navigable waterways and we see climate change as a critical challenge for our organisation and its stakeholders.

“As the body responsible for vital shared heritage across the island of Ireland, we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to take a leadership role in climate action. We will enthusiastically take on that mantle by identifying transformative and innovative ways to engage in climate action initiatives over the lifetime of the plan.”

Under the draft plan, Waterways Ireland commits to considering climate action in decisions around the acquisition, operation, maintenance and disposal of its assets, as well as the procurement of energy, consumables and third-party services.

These activities will be supported by targeted actions and initiatives in priority areas to implement climate mitigation and adaptation measures.

Progress in achieving key results will be measured quarterly, ensuring that activities are agile and can keep pace with carbon budgets and other measures developed for the sector.

“The draft plan reflects our commitment to take meaningful climate action to protect our inland waterways so they can continue to be enjoyed into the future. This includes adapting the waterways network to address climate change risks and reviewing programmes on an ongoing basis,” McDonagh added.

“Transport and energy are key target areas for us, and we will focus on targeting the decarbonisation of the buildings, infrastructure, assets and fleet responsible for the greatest proportion of our emissions.

“We have been moving in the right direction for a number of years. However, we recognise the need to be consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“The draft Waterways Ireland Climate Action Plan is highly ambitious and through its implementation, climate action will become integral to Waterways Ireland’s operations and developments. We encourage anyone with an interest in this area to have a look at the draft plan and to submit their observations.”

The draft Waterways Ireland Climate Action Plan can be found on the Waterways Ireland website HERE. Submissions can be made via email or post, details of which can be found at the previous link.

The closing date for submissions is Monday 17 January 2022. Following the 12-week consultation, submissions will be reviewed and the final Climate Action Plan will be prepared.

Waterways Ireland is hosting a Q&A webinar on the draft Climate Action Plan at 7pm on Thursday 11 November. To reserve your place, email [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways
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