herald

Friday 20 September 2019

Climate plan 'may see housing replaced'

Council chief Owen Keegan
Council chief Owen Keegan

Some of Dublin's poorer quality social housing may have to be pulled down and replaced as a cheaper alternative to energy retrofits.

The city's climate action plan aims to turn Dublin into a zero-carbon city, but with 'F' the most common BER rating for its social housing units, some may be uprooted rather than upgraded.

"It may be more economic to replace the older buildings," the plan states.

Retrofitting for energy efficiency in civic offices, public sports facilities, community centres and social housing is among more than 200 of the plan's actions, which aim to cut greenhouse gases in Dublin by 40pc in the next 10 years.

Details are to be fleshed out in an energy masterplan to be drawn up, but other initiatives range from waterless urinals to enhanced flood protection for the city's network of rivers and 52km of coastline. Flooding is a major concern identified in the plan, with sea levels found to have risen faster than expected over the past 15 years, at an average rate of 6-7mm a year in the Dublin Bay area.

Erosion, damage to property, salt water contamination of ground water, overflowing of wastewater treatment plants and disruption to transport are anticipated and all are expected to be made worse by the increasing frequency of intense rainfalls.

Solutions

Better forecasting and warning systems, tighter planning regulations and engineering solutions are all being developed to help reduce the city's vulnerabilities to flooding.

Transport is another key focus of the plan, which urges more street pedestrianisation and extended cycleways to get people out of cars and improve air quality.

Council staff will have bike and car-sharing hubs and businesses will be asked to use "last-mile delivery eco hubs", with trucks stopping at delivery centres outside the city and couriers then bringing goods in.

The city's 14 council depots will be replaced by two large energy-efficient facilities.

The plan warns the city faces population growth leading to greater energy demands, pressure on green space, heavier water use and more effluent.

"This plan will guide the city as we prepare for the impacts of climate change,'' Council chief executive Owen Keegan said.

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