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Irish Greenhouse Gas Emissions To Decrease By 3%

Targeted climate and environmental actions needed for long term improvement says EPA.

  • Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emissions, with full implementation of the Climate Action Plan, are projected to decrease by an annual average reduction of 3% between 2021 and 2030.
  • Even further measures are required to meet national and EU ambition to keep global temperature increase to 1.5oC.
  • Short term emission reductions due to Covid 19 do not negate the need for long term, targeted action across all sectors.
  • Ireland will rely on maximising the use of land – for example grasslands, wetlands and forestry to meet targets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its Greenhouse Gas emissions projections for the period 2019-2040. They show Ireland can meet our current EU target to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30% by 2030. This would require full implementation of the measures in the 2019 Climate Action Plan and would result in 3% average annual emissions reductions from 2021 to 2030.

Commenting on the figures Ms Laura Burke, (Director General, EPA) stated: “These latest projections demonstrate that if we implement the actions that are planned, and if all sectors get behind these, then we can reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This is only the first step however, and – for Ireland to become the low carbon and climate resilient society and economy that we aspire to – systemic change is required.”

Ms Burke added: “We are now at a pivotal point for our economy and the steps we take in our recovery will shape Ireland for the next decade. Focusing on climate action as part of a ‘green’ recovery stimulus offers the opportunity to rebuild our economy, generate new jobs and respond to climate change.

What Covid-19 has taught us is, that while the dramatic decline in economic activity and travel may have resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gases in the short term, long term improvements can only be achieved with targeted climate and environmental actions that change consumption and production systems in a sustainable and lasting manner.”

The EPA projections show significant emission reductions across transport, the energy sector and households with emissions from agriculture also projected to decrease. These emission reductions are to be achieved through a range of actions, committed to in the Climate Action Plan. These measures overall are projected to contribute to emissions savings of 79 Mt CO2 eq. by 2030. They include:

A reduction of at least 16.5 Mt CO2 eq. between 2021 and 2030, by implementing the measures such as low emissions slurry spreading techniques and switching to stabilised urea fertilisers for crops and pasture.

Almost 1 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2030, including 840,000 passenger EVs and 95,000 electric vans and trucks, will help achieve a projected decrease in emissions from the sector of 38% over the period to 2030.

70% renewable energy in electricity generation; the installation of 600,000 heat pumps and the retrofitting of 500,000 homes for improved energy efficiency to deliver, by 2030, a projected 34% reduction in Energy Industries emissions, a 53% reduction in Residential emissions and a 36% reduction in Commercial & Public services emissions.

Increased ambition at national and EU level to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5oC will, however, necessitate a further step-up, additional to the Climate Action Plan, in the pace and scale of emission reductions.

In addition, achievement of a low carbon pathway for Ireland and meeting future targets relies on maximising the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through improved land management, of, for example, forestry, grasslands and wetlands.

Commenting, Mr Stephen Treacy, (Senior Manager, EPA) stated: “Appropriate land management is a vital part of action on climate change, not just in Ireland but also across Europe and globally. Where land management is providing a store of carbon, this should be maintained or enhanced. Where land management is resulting in emissions of CO2, this source should be reduced or eliminated, and where land is degraded or has lost its ability to absorb or store carbon dioxide, it should be restored.”

The Covid-19 lockdown and dramatic decline in economic activity and travel will translate into emissions reductions in the short term. Early indications are that transport and electricity demand has declined since the beginning of the lockdown with diesel sales down over 20% in the year to end May, and petrol sales down over 30%. The impact of Covid-19 is not included in today’s figures and will be incorporated in the next round of projections.

See full detail on the Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2019 to 2040 in the EPA report on their website, and the EPA Green House Gas web resource.


52 Irish Water Treatment Plants Pose A Risk To Health

River Suir, Barry’s Bridge, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Pic. G. Willoughby.

While the quality of drinking water in public supplies remains high, supplies to over 1 million people are vulnerable to failure, says Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director General.

The EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies report for 2019 and the complete list of public water supplies currently on the Remedial Action List – including details of the proposed remedial measures and associated time-frames – are available HERE.

  • 67 boil water notices were in place in 2019, affecting more than 650,000 people.
  • 52 treatment plants suppling water to over one million people are vulnerable to failure.
  • 99.9% of samples complied with bacterial parameter limits and 99.6% complied with chemical parameter limits.

The EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies Report 2019, released today, shows that the quality of drinking water in public supplies remains high with 99.9% compliance with bacterial limits and 99.6% compliance with chemical limits. The continued high levels of water quality being achieved are positive for consumers. However, increasing uncertainty in Irish Water’s planning and delivery of critical improvements to water treatment plants is making supplies vulnerable to failure, posing a risk to the health of a large portion of the population.

Here in Co. Tipperary, one supply requiring remedial action, due to a requirement for a Cryptosporidium barrier, is the Clonmel – Poulavanogue supply, which directly affects 2,566 of the counties population. While an action plan has been submitted to the EPA, Irish Water has not so far provided a date for corrective work to be carried out.

The EPA’s Remedial Action List contained 52 supplies with significant issues to be addressed by Irish Water at the end of 2019. While this figure is down from 63 supplies in 2018, the population affected by these supplies has doubled in the same period to over 1.1 million. This is mainly due to the addition of the Leixlip water treatment plant to the List – following two boil water notices last year that affected more than 600,000 people.

Launching the report, Laura Burke, EPA Director General stated:

“The supply of safe drinking water is of critical importance for our well-being and for social and economic prosperity. Delays in delivering public water improvements puts water quality and the public’s health at risk. While progress is being made, the multiple failures at the Leixlip water treatment plant last year highlight the serious lack of resilience in our water supplies. The growing uncertainty in Irish Water’s planning and delivery of critical improvements to water treatment plants is undermining confidence in the security of supply of safe drinking water.

Irish Water needs to urgently address the underlying causes for the delays and shortcomings highlighted in this report and prioritise investment to ensure that public supplies are safe and secure, and that public health is protected.”

The EPA has also seen delays in completing the national disinfection programme and a significant reduction in work planned to remove “lead” from supply connections.

Andy Fanning, EPA Programme Manager, stated:

“Disinfection is the most important step in water treatment and makes our water safe by keeping water free of harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. Lead presents a different problem where the only remedy is to remove the lead pipework. With the reduced programme for removing lead pipes the EPA estimates that it could take Irish Water up to 60 years to remove all public-side lead connections.”


Lidl Rises From Ashes Of Erin Foods

Lidl Ireland have yesterday confirmed the commencement of construction work at their new site on Slievenamon Road, Thurles; latter just one mile from the retailer’s current store on Abbey Road, in the town. This development will, when complete, see them move from their existing premises.

According to Lidl and Mr Paul Downey (Regional Property Executive) this latest project will see an estimated investment of some €10 million in the Thurles area, as well as the creation of at least 10 permanent new jobs, once the store opens for business. “The discount group is eager to continue support within the local community, with significant investment and further job creation,” Mr Downey explained.

Lidl further confirmed that Monami Construction has been awarded the construction contract and having introduced the necessary installation of COVID-19 protective measures, have begun construction on the new Lidl location this week.

The new facility is understood to incorporate a range of sustainable features including an ISO 50001 certified Energy Management System; the town’s first electric vehicle charger spaces and a solar panel system.


Tipperary Co. Council – Epitome Of Hypocrisy

Never follow community leaders who are more in love with gaining personal power, than with the people they have promised publicly to support and protect.

Hypocrisy is the skill of creating a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while at the same time concealing real inclinations.

In the case of Thurles Municipal District Council officials; same shaded under the umbrella of Tipperary County Council; hypocrisy is clearly the practice by them of claiming to have higher standards and more noble beliefs, than is truly the case.

Perhaps I should make myself clearer to those whom I accuse of this pretence.

Photograph taken on June 22nd 2020.
Photographer: G.Willoughby

News is slow here in rural Tipperary and Thurles Town presently, mainly because of the Covid-19 virus pandemic and the necessary wise guidelines laid down by our government, regarding public gatherings. Same guidelines, as you will be aware, were recommended by the Department of Health, led by our Chief Medical Officer for the Republic of Ireland, Dr Tony Holohan; all three of whom named have served this country remarkably well over the past number of months.

Here in Thurles the main news story, over the past week, was the removal of dumped rubbish from a back lane at Lisheen Terrace, Mitchel Street, Thurles, by Tipperary County Council.

We understand the local residents of that area, according to Radio and Press reports, are well aware of who is dumping this domestic rubbish. Despite this knowledge, we learn from these reports that the rubbish was removed on Thursday last, June 18th, by Tipperary Co. Council, at considerable expense to local taxpayers. While Tipperary Co. Council are to be commended for their actions in this regard, one must ask the question, will the costs of such action be recovered on behalf of Thurles Town taxpayers?

Please Study the picture above and weep.

Now here is the blatant act of hypocrisy. Imagine for a moment that Tipperary Co. Council identified the culprit/culprits, supposedly known to the local residents. They decide to prosecute through the courts. Could a court convict those accused if the defence provided concrete evidence that Tipperary County Council themselves dump, on a daily basis, their waste and litter into the River Suir via storm drains? Same can be viewed today under the building aptly called ‘The Source’, next to Barry’s Bridge here in the heart of Thurles town.

This is a deliberate act carried out under cover of winter high-water levels. The River Suir is now experiencing low water levels, revealing that the locking device closing one of the storm drains has been removed. This allows rain water containing litter and God only knows what else, to flow freely, unfiltered, into the river Suir, turning it into its current appearance; that of a badly managed slurry pit.

All of this is happening at a time when the so-called Environmental Section of Tipperary Co. Council are paying argumentative individuals, who carry no proper identification, to call to homes, checking if they have recycling bins.
It is also occurring at time when some Thurles elected representatives are delaying the introduction of a Thurles Recycling Centre; latter centres enjoyed by every other large town in Co. Tipperary.


West Bound Traffic Delays In Thurles Over Next Three Months

Further traffic congestion and delays expected in Thurles town west

More Thurles traffic congestion can be expected, over the next 12 weeks, as works are expected to begin on Monday next with the laying of a new water main system on Abbey Road in the town, according to Tipperary County Council officials.

With this in mind, motorists and other road users have been advised that there will be major traffic disruption in that area, as a result of this new work, necessary to be carried out.

This work is expected to also include the construction of the delayed new ‘raised roundabout‘ on the R-660 at Abbey Road, Thurles, on the junction of the entrances to Lidl Supermarket and the Kennedy Park housing estate.

Funding for this ‘raised roundabout’ of some €75,000, had already been announced by local Cllr. Michéal Lowry, back in late January 2019. Same work had been delayed, we understand, in anticipation of the planned laying of this new water mains project.