Decarbonising Zone

Decarbonising Zone in Galway City – Westside

What is a Decarbonising Zone? 

A decarbonising zone is a spatial area identified by the local authority, in which a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures and action owners are identified to address local low carbon energy, greenhouse gas emission and climate needs to contribute to national climate action targets.

All local authorities in the country have to choose a decarbonising zone, which could be either urban or rural but has to cover a population of 5,000 or a land area of 5sq km.

The range of policies and projects developed for decarbonising zones are specific to the energy and climate characteristics of the spatial area covered by the decarbonising zone.  This can include a range of technologies and measures addressing electricity, heat, transport, building energy efficiency, carbon sequestration and energy storage.

The decarbonising zone must at a minimum reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7% per annum from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade), in line with targets set out Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021.

Why does Galway City need a Decarbonising Zone? 

The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 requires every Local Authority to identify and develop plans for a decarbonising zone to enable Ireland to meet its EU targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The decarbonising zone will provide Galway City Council with a demonstrator area with potential to roll-out the initiatives to other parts of the city.  The decarbonising zone will test how far we can go to decarbonise our economy and society, then allow us to map and engage the stakeholders needed to achieve this goal. 

Learnings from the pilot decarbonising zone could then become useful reference to replicate in other parts of the City. The community, industries and businesses will be key partners in creating a low carbon economy which will be resilient for the future.

Why was Westside chosen as a decarbonising zone?  

A 167-hactre area has been identified in the Westside area as Galway City’s decarbonising zone. This area has been selected out of 10 candidate areas in Galway with a population of more than 5000. 

The selection of Westside as Galway’s decarbonising zone is primarily based on how much potential the area can achieve for energy saving, which is determined by a number of parameters such as:

    • The capacity to switch to public transport
    • Demographics
    • The number of high-energy users
    • Building Energy Rating for buildings and infrastructure
    • Availability of biomass, potential to grow green spaces and potential to improve air quality
    • Level of involvement of a sustainable energy community

The sizing and zoning is determined based on a holistic consideration of the above criteria.  

Next steps 

We will work in partnership with local stakeholders including public bodies, utility providers, home owners, community groups, schools, businesses and the established Sustainable Energy Communities to prepare and deliver an implementation plan for the decarbonising zone.

The range of policies and projects that will be developed will be specific to the energy and climate characteristics of Westside decarbonising zone.

As with the intent for decarbonising zone, the plans should also address the wider co-benefits which can include air quality, improved health, biodiversity, embodied carbon, lower noise levels, waste, water and also benefits relating to adaptation.