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Minister Ryan launches €27 million fund for Community Climate Action while visiting Cavan

Minister Ryan launches €27 million fund for Community Climate Action while visiting Cavan

  • Minister Ryan launches €27 million fund for Community Climate Action while visiting Cavan
  • Applications open across the country for one of the largest funds ever allocated to support local projects with climate action

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, today got 2024 off to a strong start for climate action with the launch of the latest funding pot of €27 million, one of the largest of its kind, earmarked for local organisations working to build low carbon communities.

The Minister launched the mega-fund while visiting County Cavan comprising both the national Climate Action Fund allocation of €24 million and the an allocation of €3 million, which is being provided by the Government’s Shared Island Fund to support cross-border and all-island community climate action initiatives.

The landmark climate funding programme, which will be administered by local authorities, can provide amounts of up to €100,000 to larger local projects over an 18-month period. However, there is no one-size-fits-all for local projects and so the fund will be flexible enough to provide lesser amounts as needed to smaller and medium sized local action programmes.

Projects selected for funding under the programmes will have to contribute to national climate and energy targets across the following five themes:

  • community energy
  • travel
  • food and waste
  • shopping and recycling, and
  • local climate and environmental action

Speaking at the launch, Minister Ryan said:

"I have been visiting local authorities and local climate action groups across the country for the past 18 months and in these visits, like today in Cavan, it is clear that local communities are the real drivers of creative and inclusive climate action across Ireland. With climate action, place is everything. What works and what’s needed for a coastal community will be different to what works and what’s needed for a midlands community, for example.

"By allocating funding through local authorities, we can ensure that the climate solutions developed in different regions and counties are designed by, and targeted to, the specific needs of the people and communities in that area, working with the guidance of their dedicated climate co-ordinators. This fund could be seen as a community development fund as much as it is a climate fund, making towns and villages stronger and more resilient to the impact of climate change. Importantly also, the Shared Island dimension of the programme will enable communities to work together across the island of Ireland, to help reach our common climate targets, North and South".

Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Eoin Doyle, said:

"The new Climate Action Fund will see an investment of €439,000 for communities throughout County Cavan to implement local climate action projects. It’s a substantial fund that is greatly welcomed and will provide the financial support to not-for-profit groups and organisations to undertake necessary climate actions measures to transition to low carbon communities. The additional allocation of €3 million nationally for Shared Island Climate Action will further support engagement by Cavan communities with communities in Northern Ireland to collectively contribute to climate and energy targets across the island".

Applications are now open in Cavan and across many other counties for community and voluntary groups who want to do more in their communities to step up climate action in partnership with their local authorities. The Shared Island dimension of the programme will enable organisations to carry out cross-border and all-island climate action projects in partnership with communities and organisations in Northern Ireland.

All local authorities now have a dedicated Community Climate Action Officer (CCAO) who will assist interested groups with their applications and provide guidance on the programme, helping to match local action with suitable funding.

Groups who are interested in applying should contact their local authority and request to speak to the Community Climate Action Officer about the programme before applications close in early March.


Notes to the Editor

Government’s Climate Action Fund

The Climate Action Fund was established on a statutory basis in 2020 to provide support for projects, initiatives and research that contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets. The fund also supports projects and initiatives in regions of the State, and within sectors of the economy, impacted by the transition to a low carbon economy. The fund is resourced from sources including official flight emissions offset payments and from proceeds from the levy paid to the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) in respect of relevant disposals of petroleum products, after the funding requirements of NORA have been met.

Strand 1 Community Climate Action Programme – Building Low Carbon Communities

Strand 1 is part of the Community Climate Action Programme that launched in 2021 and that will see €61.5 million from the Climate Action Fund invested in community climate action projects and initiatives, as well as capacity building, over a number of years. Strand 1 is part of the first phase that saw €30 million allocated across 2 strands. Strand 2 of the Community Climate Action Programme included €5 million for an open call, managed by Pobal, for education, capacity building and learning by doing projects, and €1 million to Creative Ireland for the Creative Climate Action Programme. Both of these funding streams under strand 2 are now closed and in delivery. €31.5 million has been allocated to the second phase of the programme.

Further information on the Climate Action Fund is available on the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications website.

Information on the programme is available from each local authority’s website which can be found on the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage website.

Strand 1a Community Climate Action Programme - Shared Island Fund

Strand 1a ‘Shared Island Community Climate Action’ — funded by the Government’s Shared Island Fund, will address the same five themes as Strand 1 (community energy, travel, food and waste, shopping and recycling, and local climate and environmental action) and have a clear North/South basis, with a cross-border partnership approach and impact. This will enable communities and Local Authorities to propose take forward a cross-border project in partnership with organisations in Northern Ireland. At least 50% of awarded funding under Strand 1a will be for project delivery in Northern Ireland.

The Shared Island Fund provides ring-fenced resourcing to enable the delivery of the Government’s all-island investment commitments under the Programme for Government and National Development Plan.

In July 2022, the Government allocated €3 million from the Fund for Shared Island Community Climate Action. This will support cross-border or all-island projects that have a clear North/South basis and contribute to climate and energy targets on the island of Ireland.

Projects will include at least one partner in Northern Ireland and at least 50% of awarded funding will be for project delivery in Northern Ireland.

Further information on the Government’s Shared Island Initiative and Fund is available at: .

Cavan Climate Action Plan

Local authorities are key drivers in advancing climate policy at the local level. Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 requires local authorities to prepare a Local Authority Climate Action Plan (LACAP) to meet national emission reductions targets and develop resilience to the impacts of climate change. The local authority climate action plans will help local authorities to address, in an integrated way, the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation and strengthen the alignment between national climate policy and the delivery of effective local climate action. Following a period of extensive public consultation, County Cavan’s Climate Action Plan will be published in February 2024. For more information on the LACAP, go to the Cavan County Council website.

Climate Action Plan 2024

Climate Action Plan 2024, published in December 2023, is the third annual update to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and the second such update prepared under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021. The Plan has been approved by Government, subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment, and a public consultation on the Plan will commence in early 2024.

The plan details actions, measures and policies across a number of areas, including six vital, high-impact sectors:

  • powering renewables
  • building better
  • transforming how we travel
  • making family farms more sustainable
  • greening business and enterprise, and
  • changing our land use

Local Authority Climate Action Coordinator

The Climate Action Coordinator manages climate action internally within each local authority, across the local authority sector, and at a regional level through the Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs). A key function of the Climate Action Coordinator is to monitor progress towards achieving targets. This significantly enhances the national evidence base on delivery of the national Climate Action Plan. This evidence base gathered at a local authority level can feed into the national governance structures for delivering the Climate Action Plan.

Some of the key roles of the Climate Action Coordinator include, but are not limited to, acting as the focal point for climate change adaptation and mitigation action within the local authority; providing technical inputs on funding proposals for climate change adaptation and identifying funding opportunities; working with the CAROs to deliver on the goals of the Delivering Effective Climate Action (DECA) 2030 and the Climate Action Charter; and reviewing, collating, and distributing relevant national policies and documents on climate change, adaptation actions, case studies etc.

Local Authority Climate Action Officer

The local authority sector recognises that to support our communities, local enterprises, and the wider public sector on delivering climate policy ambitions, there needs to be a consistent focus on building internal capacity and enabling organisational culture change. Alongside supporting the Climate Action Coordinator in designing and delivering climate action strategies and policies, the Climate Action Officer drives organisational change initiatives. This enables effective delivery, while building capacity across the partnerships local authorities work with.

Some of the key roles of the Climate Action Officer include, but are not limited to, assisting the Climate Action Coordinator in developing and implementing climate action strategies, plans and policies across the local authority; supporting project teams and elected members in ensuring all local authority level activities are climate proofed; and providing support and advice to all departments on climate action related matters.