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Waterford Council achieves NTA’s Smarter Travel Mark certification

Waterford City and County Council recently achieved the Transport for Ireland (TFI) ‘Smarter Travel Mark’ bronze certification.

The Smarter Travel Mark recognises a commitment to sustainable travel initiatives.  The programme works with large employers and campuses to implement workplace travel plans, including a package of measures to encourage people to walk, cycle, use public transport, or reduce trips. The benefits of these initiatives include reduced emissions, better health and wellbeing for staff members, a more active lifestyle, and a cleaner environment.

Working towards the award as a Local Authority comes with its own unique challenges and rewards, and Waterford City and County Council is proud to be one of only a small number of Local Authorities in the country to have achieved this mark of recognition.

Cian Gill, Climate Action Officer with Waterford City and County Council said,

“We’re pleased to recognise the work done by individuals across multiple departments making sustainable travel more practical for staff members.  This includes all who helped with the travel survey data, departments making electric bicycles available for use, creating spaces for bicycles to be safely stored, and providing showers for use by active travellers.  We’d also like to thank the staff who maintain and promote the Cycle to Work scheme and the Tax Saver Tickets, and give special mention to all who made the wonderful range of Bike Week events possible, as well as the City Cycling events for staff.”

Deputy Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Adam Wyse added,

“I’d like to acknowledge the numerous Local Authority staff who have actively engaged with the various active travel programmes run by the Climate Action team over the last year and made great strides in highlighting the possibilities of behavioural change.  Everyone involved got into the spirit wholeheartedly and their contributions have played a massive part in Waterford City and County Council achieving this accreditation.

We have more miles to travel to achieve the silver standard, but I’m confident that with the guidance, advice, encouragement and more great initiatives from the Climate Action team that goal will be reached.”

ENDS

Free to use image – Patrick Browne
Photograph 1: (left to right at back, Lauren Walsh-Kett, Active Cities Officer, Barbera Stosic, Active Travel, Kieran Norris, NTA, Jemma Jacob, Road Safety Officer, left to right at front, Deputy Major Adam Wyse, Cian Gill, Climate Action Officer)

Waterford City & County Council launches Climate Action Plan

At February’s Plenary Council meeting, Waterford City and County Councillors voted to adopt the Local Area Climate Action Plan for Waterford 2024–2029.

This ambitious plan sets out the work that Waterford City and County Council will commit to over the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations and in the wider city and county. The plan also provides a roadmap for the work the Local Authority will undertake in preparation for extreme weather events and changing weather patterns.

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway helped to launch the Local Area Climate Action Plan for Waterford, along with student ‘climate ambassadors’ from the Presentation Secondary School, who participated in the Council’s first Student Climate Conference last year.

Mayor Conway said, “This plan clearly sets out the objectives for Waterford City and County Council to ensure Waterford becomes a low-carbon, sustainable, safe and healthy place to live and grow.  The onus is on all of us in Waterford City and County Council to make day-to-day changes, no matter how small, that will cumulatively protect our environment and biodiversity and enhance our health and well-being.”

Grainne Kennedy, Climate Action Officer with Waterford City and County Council added, “Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to adapt to climate change will be part of everyone in the Council’s work. From the Roads Engineer designing drainage based on the changing weather patterns, to the Housing Officer upgrading existing homes and making them more energy efficient, to the Community Liaison Officer encouraging communities to consider climate adaptation and energy saving in their projects, we all have a part to play.

“Public opinion was crucial in the creation of this plan and to ensure that the public was happy with what was put forward, the Climate Action Team ran two consultations to collect people’s suggestions and held 23 community events across the city and county. These events included the County’s first Student Climate Conference, where young people from nine secondary schools in Waterford spent a day in City Hall workshopping and setting out what actions they wanted to see included in the Climate Action Plan.”

The plan is wide ranging looking at everything from buildings and infrastructure to parks and waste reduction. 

Some examples of actions set out in the plan relating to the County include:

  • Short term (by 2025): Provide training to all Council staff on how their work is impacted by Climate Change.
  • Medium term (by 2027): Replace fossil fuels with renewable fuel in Council fleet.
  • Long term (by 2029): Deliver over €1m worth of Community Climate Projects or deliver a 50% improvement in energy efficiency across Council buildings.

Some examples of actions set out in the plan relating to the city include:

  • Short term: Deliver a carpooling app for the city.
  • Medium term: Deliver a Rain Gardens project to reduce run off in flooding and to help the public to plant gardens that hold onto excess rain.
  • Long term: Work with partners to deliver a District Heating system for the city.

Councillors will be issued with an annual report to monitor progress and there will be dashboard that the public can access.  The completed plan is available to view on the Council website at https://waterfordcouncil.ie/services/environment/climate-action/ and physical copies will also be available at the City Hall on The Mall and from the Civic Offices in Dungarvan.

-ends-

Images : Patrick Browne

Landowner to pay clean-up costs for illegal dumping

An elderly landowner was spared a waste management conviction on January 17th at Carrick on Suir District court on the provision he paid €3000 to the Local Authority’s clean-up costs.

Waterford City and County Council took a prosecution against the landowner for facilitating the unauthorised management of construction and demolition waste and soil in a protected area adjacent to the River Suir near Carrick on Suir.

Niall Kane, Senior Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council outlined to Judge Brian O’Shea that construction and demolition waste had been dumped on the land which forms part of the Lower River Suir Special Area of Conservation prior to July 2022.

The landowner for the land in question could not be traced, and the land appeared to be abandoned.  However, in August 2022, an adjoining landowner paid a contractor to form an entrance ramp to the land with the waste material to provide an additional access to his adjoining land.

Subsequent to this, Waterford City and County Council undertook a clean-up operation, removing the construction and demolition waste to restore the area to its previous condition.

The adjoining landowner pled guilty to the offence under section 32 of the Waste Management Act, but Judge O’Shea, noting that the defendant had not previously been before the courts, said he would apply the probation act to the landowner and spare him a conviction if he contributed €3,000 to the council’s clean-up costs.

Uisce Éireann Reminds Waterford Public To Conserve Water

OVER HALF OF PEOPLE IN IRELAND STILL ADMIT TO WASTING WATER

Uisce Éireann today renewed its appeal to the public to ‘Think Water Conservation’ as warm weather returns and demand increases. This comes as over half of Irish households (54%)* still admit to wasting water. As part of its annual campaign, Uisce Éireann is calling on households across the country to assess water usage habits and take practical steps to save water daily.

With warm, dry weather experienced by much of the country this week and with many people now back in school and work after the holidays, Uisce Éireann has seen an increase in demand for water. However, there are no plans to introduce general water restrictions or hosepipe bans. The public has been asked to help play their part in protecting essential water supplies for their local communities, and to conserve water where possible.

Simple water saving tips include:

  • Checking your water consuming appliances such as washing machines and dishwaters for any plumbing issues. This includes looking out for dripping joints or leaking supply hoses
  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run cold and save six litres a day
  • Making sure the tap is off while brushing teeth can save 84 litres of water a week
  • Reducing shower time by 60 seconds can save up to 120 litres of water every week
  • 250 litres of water a week can be saved by fixing any leaking or dripping taps in the garden

Speaking of the importance of water conservation year-round, Stephen Burke, Regional Operations Manager for Uisce Éireann, said:

“We are experiencing a warm, dry, spell of weather this week, and, while it is great to see after a particularly wet summer, this brings its own unique set of challenges. Many of us will be enjoying these warm evenings in our gardens, however, it is important to remain conscious of our water usage habits throughout the year, regardless of the weather.

“Some urban areas tend to see increases in demand around this time of year as schools return and people come back to work after holidays. Also, as we come into autumn and winter, storms and other extreme weather can impact on the capacity to treat and produce clean drinking water.  For this reason, water conservation is something we should think about year-round, not just during the summer.

“By working together to use only what we need in our homes, gardens, and businesses, we can all contribute to ensuring a sustainable water supply for everyone. We are encouraging communities all over Ireland to play their part and think water conservation throughout the year.

“Don’t forget to also check the ground above your pipes for signs of leaks. At Uisce Éireann we are also continuing our First Fix Free programme which helps households that may be using higher levels of water than average, which could signal a potential leakage problem.  Our team will investigate the cause of the leak and fix the issue to curtail any further potential leaks. This is in line with the Uisce Éireann collaborative approach to water conservation.”

Stephen also reminded the public that once again the Uisce Éireann Conservation Calculator is on hand to help households examine how much water they are currently using and identify changes they could make to reduce their use.

“The average water use of one person is 133 litres per day.  The Conservation Calculator provides helpful advice for those wanting to ensure they use water responsibly to improve their score rating and is free for all households to use on our website. It offers practical advice on conserving water, to ensure we have a sustainable water supply for everyone in years to come. We are encouraging everyone to play their part with us and think water conservation”.

For further information visit www.water.ie/conservation/

National Tree Week Launch

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. John O’Leary took part in a tree planting initiative in Dungarvan to mark National Tree Week 2023

National Tree Week Launch Waterford

National Tree Week is Ireland’s largest annual tree celebration runs from March 19th to 26th March and is dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of the importance of trees to the environment.

Organised by The Tree Council of Ireland and proudly supported by Coillte, National Tree Week has been running for over 35 years.  This year’s theme is ‘Biodiversity Begins With Trees’highlighting the benefits of trees to our environment and local communities.

The objective of Tree Week is to inspire people to plant and care for trees and to highlight the many benefits trees provide to our environment and local communities.

Over 440 trees and hedging plants have been planted in Dungarvan so far this year, including birch, hazel, holly and ash, as well as numerous fruit bushes and trees.

REMINDER: Rates saving for Waterford businesses making energy efficiency a priority

In April 2021, Waterford City and County Council agreed that Waterford City would be the designated Decarbonising Zone for Waterford.

Acting as a “Transition Super-Lab”, where real life initiatives to manage the transition from a fossil fuel-based local economy to carbon Net Zero will be designed and implemented, the DZ projects include building energy efficiency, sustainable transport, renewable energy generation and carbon sequestration.

To achieve this aim will require a very significant shift in how all businesses, and the wider community, source and use energy with the aim of substantially reducing energy derived from carbon-based fuels.

As part of their approach, Waterford City and County Council will be seeking to engage with and support businesses as they transition towards carbon neutrality.  The first initiative in 2022 is a discount on the Rates bills for ratepayers whose annual bill is less than €10,000 or operate in the hospitality industry, subject to participation in a short online energy training programme which will include a brief questionnaire.

Applicants who complete the program will have the equivalent of the 5% rates increase due in 2022 credited to their account. The training takes just 10 minutes and on completion of the course the businesses will be able to download information on the grants and supports that are available to them in their efforts to save energy.

Accounts must also be fully paid, and the training must be completed by September 30th, 2022 to avail of the discount.

Businesses can register for the training by visiting https://submit.link/16z or by scanning the QR code:

Rates saving for Waterford businesses making energy efficiency a priority

In April 2021, Waterford City and County Council agreed that Waterford City would be the designated Decarbonising Zone for Waterford.

Acting as a “Transition Super-Lab”, where real life initiatives to manage the transition from a fossil fuel-based local economy to carbon Net Zero will be designed and implemented, the DZ projects include building energy efficiency, sustainable transport, renewable energy generation and carbon sequestration.

To achieve this aim will require a very significant shift in how all businesses, and the wider community, source and use energy with the aim of substantially reducing energy derived from carbon-based fuels.

As part of their approach, Waterford City and County Council will be seeking to engage with and support businesses as they transition towards carbon neutrality.  The first initiative in 2022 is a discount on the Rates bills for ratepayers whose annual bill is less than €10,000 or operate in the hospitality industry, subject to participation in a short online energy training programme which will include a brief questionnaire.

Applicants who complete the program will have the equivalent of the 5% rates increase due in 2022 credited to their account. The training takes just 10 minutes and on completion of the course the businesses will be able to download information on the grants and supports that are available to them in their efforts to save energy.

Accounts must also be fully paid, and the training must be completed by September 30th, 2022 to avail of the discount.

Businesses can register for the training by visiting https://submit.link/16z or by scanning the QR code:

Waterford householders urged to avail of free eWaste recycling event

Waterford householders are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a free collection day to help the county meet recycling targets which have increased since the first lockdown in 2020.  The event, hosted by WEEE Ireland with support from Waterford City and County Council, takes place on Saturday September 17th from 10am to 4pm at the Tesco Car Park, Tramore.

All household items with a plug or a battery will be accepted free of charge, including old washing machines, TVs, toasters and kettles, electronic tools and toys, cables, IT equipment, mobile phones, remote controls, and even watches.

“In Waterford, and across Ireland, we are buying more electrical goods than ever – with the annual tonnage on the market rising from 15kg a head in 2016 to 22kg a head last year,” said WEEE Ireland CEO Leo Donovan.

“Shopping stats during the pandemic showed a surge in spend on new electrical devices like mobile phones, computers, small kitchen appliances and white goods. With old items still lying around many households we want to offer the opportunity to recycle these for free.  People in Waterford have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend.”

A surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 1145 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Waterford by the country’s largest recycling scheme in 2021, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions still in place for much of the year.

9.86kg of e-waste was recycled per person in Waterford last year – falling short of the 2020 collection rate of 10.45kg and the national average of 10.86kg per person.  However, the county’s e-waste target for 2022 has increased to 13kg per person, to reflect yearly increases in electrical goods consumption, accelerated by Covid-19.

“82% of all material that we collect is recovered for use again in manufacturing through both indigenous operators and specialist processors in Europe,” said Mr. Donovan.

“Most end-of-life products contain metals and minerals in higher concentrations than primary resources. These stocks of resources are the urban mines of the future, so our recycling efforts can have a significant impact on the environment.”

In 2021, the equivalent of 231,179 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided by recycling e-waste through the WEEE Ireland Scheme as opposed to landfilling. That is the equivalent of the annual carbon consumption of 4,624 hectares of trees.

WEEE Ireland accounts for over two thirds of all national waste electrical and electronics collection activity on behalf of 1,296 producer members.

These free events are proudly supported by Waterford City and County Council.

Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer, Waterford City and County Council added, “Recycling e-Waste is incredibly beneficial for both the environment and the economy. Together, we are diverting waste from landfill, recovering raw materials for reuse and ensuring hazardous materials are safely and responsibly disposed of.

“We look forward to working with WEEE Ireland and Waterford householders to hopefully recycle a record-breaking amount of electronic waste in 2022.”

Wee_Waterford_A4 Aug.pdf

Job Alert : Join our Climate Action team

JOIN OUR CLIMATE NEUTRAL WATERFORD ACTION TEAM

THE CONCEPT

In keeping with its designation as Ireland’s Best Place To Live, Waterford is intent on being the first in Ireland to achieve climate neutrality and is seeking to put in place a multi-disciplinary team to lead the change agenda, engage with the wider community and accelerate the National Climate Objective at a local level.

Waterford City and County Council intends to:

  • Embed climate change mitigation as a part of what we are as a corporate entity and community.
  • Be an exemplar in Ireland of best practice in climate action.
  • Forge a new paradigm of participative local democracy through climate action.
  • Be a centre of excellence for research and innovation in respect of the reduction of GHG emissions.
  • Establish Waterford as a leading hub for the implementation of European Green Deal
  • Foster a just transition, through the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

We are looking for outstanding and dynamic people to work on this exciting project across a range of disciplines with skills required in climate change, green solutions, community engagement, finance, behavioural change and marketing among others.

Director of Climate Action
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Senior Climate Action Officer
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Assistant Climate Action Officer
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Closing Date : 4pm, Friday, 22nd April 2022

Job Alert : Join our Climate Action team

JOIN OUR CLIMATE NEUTRAL WATERFORD ACTION TEAM

THE CONCEPT

In keeping with its designation as Ireland’s Best Place To Live, Waterford is intent on being the first in Ireland to achieve climate neutrality and is seeking to put in place a multi-disciplinary team to lead the change agenda, engage with the wider community and accelerate the National Climate Objective at a local level.

Waterford City and County Council intends to:

  • Embed climate change mitigation as a part of what we are as a corporate entity and community.
  • Be an exemplar in Ireland of best practice in climate action.
  • Forge a new paradigm of participative local democracy through climate action.
  • Be a centre of excellence for research and innovation in respect of the reduction of GHG emissions.
  • Establish Waterford as a leading hub for the implementation of European Green Deal
  • Foster a just transition, through the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

We are looking for outstanding and dynamic people to work on this exciting project across a range of disciplines with skills required in climate change, green solutions, community engagement, finance, behavioural change and marketing among others.

Director of Climate Action
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Senior Climate Action Officer
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Assistant Climate Action Officer
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Closing Date : 4pm, Friday, 22nd April 2022

Job Alert : Join our Climate Action team

JOIN OUR CLIMATE NEUTRAL WATERFORD ACTION TEAM

THE CONCEPT

In keeping with its designation as Ireland’s Best Place To Live, Waterford is intent on being the first in Ireland to achieve climate neutrality and is seeking to put in place a multi-disciplinary team to lead the change agenda, engage with the wider community and accelerate the National Climate Objective at a local level.

Waterford City and County Council intends to:

  • Embed climate change mitigation as a part of what we are as a corporate entity and community.
  • Be an exemplar in Ireland of best practice in climate action.
  • Forge a new paradigm of participative local democracy through climate action.
  • Be a centre of excellence for research and innovation in respect of the reduction of GHG emissions.
  • Establish Waterford as a leading hub for the implementation of European Green Deal
  • Foster a just transition, through the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

We are looking for outstanding and dynamic people to work on this exciting project across a range of disciplines with skills required in climate change, green solutions, community engagement, finance, behavioural change and marketing among others.

Director of Climate Action
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Senior Climate Action Officer
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Assistant Climate Action Officer
5 Year Contract
– Advert

– Application Form

– Information Booklet

Closing Date : 4pm, Friday, 22nd April 2022