- What are the important environmental issues for Carlow-Graiguecullen?
- What additional measures should be taken to protect the local environment?
- How can the JULAP best address the challenges of climate change?
- How can renewable energy sources be promoted in Carlow-Graiguecullen?
8. Environment and Climate Change
The JULAP must ensure that a balance is achieved in terms of land use and development and the protection of the environment. The necessity to transition to a low carbon economy cuts across all policy areas and will be addressed in the plan. Environmental considerations will also inform the drafting of the JULAP through the preparation of environmental assessments.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a statutory formal process carried out in order to fully incorporate environmental considerations into the plan making process with a view to promoting sustainable development. The process seeks to provide a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of the plan. It is a separate parallel process carried out in tandem with the preparation of the JULAP.
The EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) seeks to protect a number of habitats with flora and fauna of European importance by designating these as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas collectively known as Natura 2000 sites. The River Barrow is one of these designated SAC sites and it is a requirement of the Directive that an Appropriate Assessment be carried out on the implications of any plan or project for a Natura 2000 site. The draft JULAP will therefore have to be screened to ascertain whether it would be likely to have any significant impacts on any Natura 2000 site.
Flood Risk Assessment
The EU Floods Directive and the “Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities” set out the requirement for a plan to be accompanied by a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. These guidelines state that inappropriate development that cannot meet the “Justification Test” should not be considered at the plan making stage. The Council will carry out a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment of the policies and objectives of the Draft JULAP. This assessment will provide a broad assessment of flood risk within the Greater Urban Area and inform strategic land use decisions.
Climate change is recognised as a defining issue of our time and is now at the forefront of policy at an international, national, and local level. In terms of this current period of the planet’s history, there are growing concerns that natural fluctuations in climate are being overtaken by impacts from human activities.
Adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change will therefore be overarching considerations that will inform policies and objectives in the JULAP, with a focus on reducing impacts in the Joint Urban Area through settlement and travel patterns, energy use and the protection of green infrastructure.
Fig 4: Mitigation and Adaptation Actions (Source: Eastern and Midland Climate Action Regional Office - CARO)
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER