KILDARE councillor Peter Hamilton has requested that, given the climate and biodiversity emergency declared in June, Kildare Co Council in the budget planning process aims to protect an allocation of at least between one and two per cent of the total council budget for specific climate mitigation actions, based on the adaptation and mitigation planning processes in progress.
Cllr Hamilton remarked at the October meeting of the full council that good progress has been made in terms of symbolic actions but no changes have been made since June. Several councillors objected to the ring-fencing of funds, though Cllr Hamilton later noted that he hadn’t used ring-fencing in his wording but protection.
The Labour Party’s Angela Feeney remarked that people are keen to see tangible outputs while Cllr Rob Power said that the first step is putting aside funding for next year to tackle projects.
Meanwhile, Cllr Fintan Brett suggested that serious thought be given to increasing funding for Tidy Towns groups; his Naas Municipal District colleague Vincent P Martin described Tidy Towns as “green crusaders” who “ought to be supported”.
“It’s time for action now,” said Cllr Aidan Farrelly, while Cllr Noel Heavey brought up the possibility of encouraging landowners to convert their land to forestry. Cllr Ivan Keatley remarked that there has to be a calculation and demonstration of what is already spent.
Joe Boland, Director of Services, Water Services and Environment, described it as a timely motion in advance of the budget and remarked that a key aspect has to be building capacity and ensuring governance arrangements are in place.
He also highlighted several categories for expenditure – training and capacity building, resources (such as climate action awareness officers to work with MDs or energy efficiency specialists), matched funding for grants including the Climate Action Fund and EU funding, KCC’s capital programme, and community capacity building.