Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing society. The Earth’s climate has already become warmer, with scientists predicting further increases in global temperatures. The consequences of our greenhouse gas emissions will continue to leave a legacy of flooding, famine, drought, migration, coastal flooding and erosion, and will lead to the mass extinction of species.The impacts of climate change are affecting people in our City and District today.
Across the North West we have seen the impact of severe weather with a number of significant flood events in the last decade as well as disruption from heatwaves and storms.
Council Climate Action
At a time when global action is required, we in Derry City and Strabane District Council have decided to act locally while thinking globally.
We recognise the need to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to minimise future global warming and being ready for the unavoidable impacts of climate change in the City and District through adaptation planning.
We have recently declared a Climate Emergency, launched our Climate Change Adaptation Plan, established an All Party Working Group and developed a Climate Change Pledge committing us to climate action.
Council’s Climate Emergency Pledge outlines our commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and the need to adapt to climate change impacts now and in the future.
Climate Change Adaptation Plan
The Climate Change Adaptation Plan sets out our vision for a resilient council prepared for the effects of climate change. It outlines our vision and strategic priorities for adaptation action across Council over the next 5 years.
The Plan was developed as part of the CLIMATE Project funded by the EU Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme in collaboration with partners from Climate Northern Ireland and Climate Ireland.
Download the Climate Change Adaptation Plan & Supplementary Information Document here:
Local sports clubs get behind NW Climate Action Plan
As a Council we are working with the GAA to improve sustainability in our communities through the GAA Green Clubs Scheme. The programme involves pilot clubs from within our District and across Ireland working with local agencies to tackle climate change and make local, practical environmental improvements.
Recently our Climate Officer Cathy Burns joined members of local pilot club Strabane Sigersons GAA in planting 120 trees at their club.
Sigersons' members will participate in a 12-month programme to help understand how the GAA can help tackle climate change and environmental issues. The scheme will bring together the practical learnings from the participating clubs to help shape a GAA Green Clubs toolkit that will be made available to all GAA units in Ireland, featuring useful case studies, established partnership models and available funding streams.
Sigersons have also expanded the Green Club initiative to encompass the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Programme. This involves youth members in developing strategies and plans to improve the local environment focussing on the themes of sustainable energy and waste reduction. Ideas will help structure the club's Green Action Plan which has begun with the planting of trees on club grounds.
The tree planting project was made possible with support from Derry City & Strabane District Council's Tree Officer with the trees kindly supplied through Department for Community's Warm Well and Connected (WWC) Programme.
The North West cluster includes the following clubs; Strabane Sigersons, Tyrone, St Joseph's Craigbane, Derry, Four Masters, Donegal, Naomh Muire Íochtar na Rosann, Donegal, Buncrana, Donegal.
For kids climate action activities go to www.derrystrabane.com/ecozone
Green Infrastructure Plan
Derry City & Strabane District Council and its Green Infrastructure (GI) partners have developed a GI Plan for the district that aims to improve its green and blue spaces. It outlines a new approach that requires a change to the way we think about and value these spaces. It highlights that these areas provide a range of benefits including helping tackling climate change through natural solutions to mitigate against and adapt to climate change.
Ulster University Partnership
Derry City and Strabane District Council has teamed up with nursing students from Ulster University to increase awareness of the role healthcare professionals have in helping communities prepare for the impact of storms, heatwaves and flooding due to climate change.
Council presents at the School of Nursing annual emergency response conference for final year nursing students outlining the risks from climate change including severe weather events and increased pests and diseases and how they can help local people in these emergency situations.
Climate Programme Manager Cathy Burns explains; “We are really delighted to be collaborating with Ulster University on this project, equipping the next generation of nurses with the necessary knowledge about climate change and its practical impacts.
Pat Deeny, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Magee and Exercise Co-Ordinator, said: “Ulster University conducts a major community resilience and disaster response simulation exercise every year. This is a mix of live simulation and command and control events that are used to test the leadership and decision making skills of final year nursing students in crisis, disasters and catastrophic situations. We have involvement from Council, Health and Social Care Trusts, PSNI, NIAS, Red Cross, Medical Reserve, St John Ambulance, Foyle Search and Rescue, Schools of Creative Arts and Humanities, Social and Policy Science and School of Media at Ulster. All our scenarios are closely linked to Community Resilience Plans developed by Council Emergency Planning and cover topics such as flooding, public health emergencies, mass casualty events, fire and community evacuation, nursing home evacuation and community response to suicide. We have teamed up with Council to examine emergences caused by climate change such as heat exhaustion, Lyme’s disease and flooding.”
Collaborative Learning Initiative Managing and Adapting to the Environment (CLIMATE)
The CLIMATE project ran from June 2017 – May 2020 and sought to tackle climate change on local and regional levels through development of a best practice adaptation planning model and toolkit. The €1.3m project was part funded by the ERDF Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 with Derry City and Strabane District Council as the lead partner.
This project worked with partners and stakeholders from four different regions; Northern Ireland, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland and the Faroe Islands, in addition Associate Partners from Finland, Scotland, Norway and Iceland were also be involved.
The main project objective was to: “Promote and improve climate change awareness in European peripheral rural communities through a knowledge based approach and community led sustainable resource planning that will mitigate against future climate impact and incorporating transnational collaboration through a best practice model which will improve preparedness for sustainable environmental management in future years”.
The project partners came together to analyse and evaluate climate change issues and to use best practice models to develop Climate Adaptation Plans in Derry City and Strabane District Council, and the Swedish municipalities of Sundsvall and Härnösand
The adaptation planning model and toolkit will be shared across the NPA region and more locally by Climate Northern Ireland through the Local Government Climate Action Network which will see other councils develop their respective adaptation plans.