Appendix E - Strategic Environmental Screening Report

closeddate_range30 Jul, 2019, 5:00pm - 13 Sep, 2019, 5:00pm

Appendix E:    Strategic Environmental Screening Report

 

Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening Report

 

For

            Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Cork City Council

 

Determination of the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment for Cork City Council Climate Change Adaptation Strategy prepared under the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework

 June 2019

 

                                            ON BEHALF OF        

Atlantic Seaboard South Region   Climate Action Regional Office (CARO)

 

 

DOCUMENT CONTROL SHEET

 

 

Revision

 

Status

 

Author(s)

 

Reviewed

 

Approved

 

Issue Date

 

 

1.0

 

Draft for Consultation

Muriel Ennis Principal Environmental Consultant

Muriel Ennis Principal Environmental Consultant

 

Jim Dowdall

Director

 

 

27th  June 2019

 

 

1.INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Background

The Earth’s Climate is changing. While natural fluctuations in climate are considered normal, emerging research and observational records from across the world show rates of change that are far greater than those experienced in recent history. Global temperatures have risen and are projected to rise further bringing changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather. Ireland’s climate is changing in line with global patterns and these changes are bring- ing significant and wide ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

Climate change is now recognised as a global challenge with policy responses required in terms of both mitigating the causes of climate change and in adapting to the now inevitable consequences of our changing climate. Action at local level is vitally important to help reduce the risks and impacts of climate change   across communities.

This local authority Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy forms part of Ireland’s national strategy for climate adaptation as set out in the National Adaptation Framework (NAF) which was produced under the provisions of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.1

It is tasked with mainstreaming climate change adaptation over time into all functions, operations and services of the local authority. It seeks to inform or ‘climate proof’ existing plans and policies produced and implemented by the local authority. This ensures a considered, consistent and coherent approach, facing head-on the challenges of a changing climate. Crucially, it also helps in building resilience within the local authority organisation itself as well as across all communities.

 

 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 (S.I. No. 25/2016). Available at http://www.irishstatute- book.ie/eli/2015/act/46/enacted/en/htm

 

 

 2 LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT

 

2.1 Strategic Environmental Assessment

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is the formal, systematic evaluation of the likely significant environmental effects of implementing a plan or program, or variation to a plan or program, before a decision is made to adopt it. The SEA Directive2 requires, inter alia, that SEA is undertaken for certain plans, programs  or  variations  to these.

The SEA Directive has been transposed into Irish law through the European Communities (Environ- mental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 435 of 2004) and The Planning and Development Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 436 of 2004). These Regulations have since been amended by the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 200 of 2011) and the Planning and Development (SEA) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 201 of 2011). The criteria as set out in Annex II of The SEA Directive (Directive 2001/42/EC) on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment, this criteria is also set out in Schedule 1 of the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 435 of 2004) need to be considered while drafting the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

 

 

 

2 Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of Ministers, of 27th June 2001, on the Assessment of the Effects of Certain Plans and Programmes on the Environment

 

 

This SEA screening report is consistent with the process as recommended by The Department of En- vironment, Heritage and Local Government guidance document entitled Implementation of  SEA  Di- rective 2001/42/EC Assessment of the Effects of Certain Plans and Programmes on the Environment November 2004, specifically Chapter 3 (SEA: Screening and Scoping) and furthermore uses the criteria  for SEA screening criteria set out in the SEA   Directive.

 

An Appropriate Assessment Screening Report has also been prepared for this Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in line with Article 6(3) of the EU Habitats Directive  (92/43/EEC).

 

2.1 Climate Change Adaptation

 

2.2.1    International Context

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international en- vironmental treaty adopted in May 1992. The framework’s objective is “to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The framework did not set binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions and contained no enforcement mechanisms. However, the framework outlined how specific international treaties may negotiate further action towards its key objective. The Paris Agreement 2015 is a protocol set within the context of the UNFCCC (ratified by Ireland on 4th November 2016) and it is aimed at:

    • Limiting global warming to less than 20C above pre-industrial level and pursuing efforts to limit the  temperature  increase  to 1.50C.
    • Building resilience and increasing the ability to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

 

The agreement states the need for Parties to formulate and implement National Adaptation Plans.

 

2.2.2 EU Context

The 2013 EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change encouraged all Member states to adopt comprehensive adaptation strategies. It sought better informed decision making through the identification and addressing of gaps in knowledge about adaptation. The European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT, was developed as a resource mechanism to help users access and share information on adaptation.

 

 

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is a voluntary, bottom up, approach for cities and local governments to combat Climate Change and move towards a low emission, resilient society. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy brought the Compact of Mayors and the EU Covenant of Mayors under one international body in January 2017 incorporating over 9,000 cities and local governments.

 

2.2.3 National Context

The 2012 National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF) was Ireland’s first step in developing a  national policy on adaptation actions to combat the  impacts of  climate    change.

The National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development 2014 restated the policy position of the NCCAF, 2012. Greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change were to be addressed in parallel national plans under an evolving climate policy to 2050.

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 was a landmark national milestone in the evolution of climate change policy in Ireland. It provides the statutory basis for the national transition objective laid out in the National Policy Position (as per above). Further to this, it made provision for and gives statutory authority to both the National Mitigation Plan (NMP), published in 2017 and the National Adaptation Framework (NAF) published in 2018. This Local Adaptation Strategy forms part of the  National  Adaptation Framework.

The Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines 2018 provides guidance to Local Au- thorities to develop their own Climate Action Adaptation Strategy. In developing this adaptation strategy Cork City Council has been consistent with these guidelines.

 

3 DETERMINING  WHETHER  AN  SEA IS REQUIRED

The objective of  the SEA Directive for the assessment of  the effects of  certain plans and programmes    on the Environment is  to

 “provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environ- mental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development, by ensuring that, in accordance with this Directive, an environmental assessment is carried out of certain  plans  and  programmes  which are  likely to have significant effects  on the environment.”3

 

3 Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of Ministers, of 27th June 2001, on the Assessment of the Effects of Certain Plans  and Programmes on the     Environment

 

 

3.1 Cork City’s Draft Climate Change Adaptation Objectives

The purpose of the Cork City Council’s Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is to achieve the national objective of becoming a more climate resilient society and economy by 2050. In order to help tackle current and future challenges that climate change can present, Cork City Council have set out a number of key objectives in their strategy, under thematic principles. Table 1 below outlines Cork City Councils  Draft Climate Change  Adaptation Strategy objectives per   theme.

TABLE 1 CORK’S CITYS DRAFT CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGY OBJECTIVES

 

Local Adaptation Governance and Business Operations

1

To support the  successful and practical  implementation  of  climate adaptation  planning.

 

2

To ensure that climate adaptation is mainstreamed into all relevant activities and operations of Cork City Council.

3

To develop and maintain a resource and risk model for Cork City Council.

4

To build resilience within Cork City Council to support service  delivery.

5

To build capacity within Cork City Council to respond effectively to extreme weather events.

 

6

To identify and support opportunities that may arise from pursuing adaptation efforts through  the functions of Cork City Council.

Infrastructure and Built  Environment

7

To increase the resilience of  roads  and transport    infrastructure.

 

8

To increase the resilience of Cork  City Council buildings, housing stock, parks and cemeteries  and  other  capital  assets.

Land Use and Development

 

9

To integrate climate action considerations into land use planning policy and influence positive behaviour.

Drainage, Water and Flood Management

10

To adapt to the increased risk and impact of flooding due to climate change.

 

11

To provide adequate drinking water supply and waste water treatment during extreme weather events.

 

 

12

To liaise and work with other bodies and agencies responsible for the management of water sources.

Natural Resources and Cultural Infrastructure

13

To protect and enhance and restore the natural  environment.

 

14

To review, manage and protect biodiversity and natural heritage within the natural environ- ment.

15

To support and enhance built  heritage and cultural    infrastructure.

Citizen Safety, Health and Wellbeing

16

To consult, identify actions and build capacity and    resilience within local communities.

Partnerships with other Sectors and Agencies

17

To collaborate  with  other  sectors and  agencies  in programmes relating to  climate  change.

3.2  Requirement to carry out SEA Pre-Screening Checklist

In order to determine if this Strategy is considered a plan/programme under Article 3 of the SEA Di- rective, a pre-screening check is necessary. Figure 1 below provides details of the pre-screening check-  list; this checklist is based on the decision tree published by the EPA in the Development of SEA meth- odologies for  plans  and programmes in  Ireland.4

 

Figure 1 Pre Screening Decision Process

 

4 SEA SCREENING DTERMINATION

The Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy was screened using the criteria contained in Annex 11 of the SEA Directive. Table 2 and Table 3 below, details the screening assessment using the criteria for determining the likely significance of effects as set out in SEA Directive, Annex ii.

TABLE 2 SCREENING STERMINATION FOR ANNEX 1191.), CRITERIA FOR DTERMINING THE LIKELY SIGNIFICANCE OF EFFECTS.

The Characteristics of the Plan and Programmes having regard, in particular, to, the following criteria

Likely to have significant en- vironmental ef- fects

Criteria

Screening Determination

The degree to which the plan or programme sets a framework for projects and other activities, ei- ther with regard to the location, nature, size and operating condi- tions or by allocating resources.

The purpose of this Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy is to identify the risks to Cork City associated with climate change, and to set strategic goals, objectives and actions to adapt  to  these changes.

 

Cork City Council’s Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy forms part of Ireland’s na- tional strategy for climate adaptation as set out in the National Adaptation Framework (NAF) which was produced under the  provisions  of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Develop- ment Act 2015.

 

Cork City Council’s Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy, if adopted, will not set a framework for future development consent of projects, i.e. projects listed in both Annex I and Annex II of the Environmental Impact Assess- ment Directive.

No

The degree to which the plan or programme influences other plans and programmes including those in a hierarchy;

This Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strat- egy will inform other future plans, as its main output, to ensure that Cork City Councils poli- cies, strategies, plans, actions and measures being developed must be informed, take ac- count and be aware of the need to adapt to the impacts  of  climate change.

 

Future individual development policies, strate- gies, plans and projects must be considered under the SEA, EIA and/or AA processes.

No

The relevance of the plan or pro- gramme for the integration of en- vironmental considerations in particular with a view to promot- ing sustainable development;

As the Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strat- egy is aimed at integrating climate change ad- aptation into Cork City Councils plans, strate- gies and management team’s agendas, the climate change adaptation measures will be implemented  via  future plans.

No

 

 

This Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strat- egy’s main output is to ensure that all policies, strategies and plans for Cork City  Council  must be informed of the need to adapt to the potential impacts of climate   change.

 

Individual development policies, strategies, plans and projects must be considered individ- ually under the SEA, EIA and/or AA  process.

 

Environmental problems rele- vant to the plan or   programme;

The Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strat- egy looks to integrate climate change adapta- tion into Cork City Council as a management function and/or an important criterion to be considering in developing Local Authority Plans or Actions. The climate change adapta- tion actions taken will be implemented via fu- ture plans as its main output is to ensure that all policies, strategies, plans and measures for Cork City Council must be informed of the need to adapt to the potential impacts of cli- mate change.

 

Individual development policies, strategies, plans and projects must be considered individ- ually under the SEA, EIA and/or AA  process.

No

The relevance of the plan or pro- gramme for the  implementation  of Community legislation on the environment (e.g. plans and pro- grammes linked to waste-man- agement  or  water protection).

As the Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strat- egy is aimed at integrating climate change ad- aptation into identified Cork City Councils Plans and Strategies and future Plans and Strategies, with some specific actions to help raise awareness of climate change both within management team and the wider public in Cork City, these actions can support plans and programmes that are related to waste generation, management, flood resilience and protection.

 

However, these climate change adaptation actions will be implemented via future plans as its main output is to ensure that all policies, strategies, plans and measures for Cork City Council must be informed of the need to adapt to the  to the potential impacts of climate change.

No

TABLE 3 SCREENING DETERMINATION FOR ANNEX II (2.), CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING THE LIKELY SIGNIFICANCE OF  EFFECTS

Characteristics of the Effects and of the Area Likely to be Affected, taking account of the following criteria

Likely to have significant envi- ronmental ef- fects

Criteria

Screening Determination

The probability, duration, fre- quency and reversibility of the ef- fects

Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy is designed to inform re- sponses throughout the local  authority  to  the effects of climate change, which is now inevitable. At this stage, based on current information, it is difficult to estimate the du- ration, or indeed it’s variability, but it is likely to be long term which justifies the need for an adaptation strategy such as the one be-  ing prepared. The adaptation strategy in its role to “climate-proof” existing plans, poli- cies and activities of the Local Authority is an essential first step in dealing with climate change effects from a Local Authority per- spective.

No

The cumulative nature of the ef- fects

Changes in climate change are cumulative and work in combination. This can be seen where climatic factors combine and create what are called “compound events” where combined weather events may contribute to enhanced risk.

No

The transboundary nature of the effects

In order to deal with transboundary effects Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy has included actions, for example, Objective 17 and Action 17.1 to Liaise, collaborate and work in relevant partnership with the sectors in the delivery of the sectoral adaptation actions, as ap- proved by Government, where they are rel- evant to the functions and activities of Cork City

No

The risks to human health or the environment (e.g. due to acci- dents)

Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy is designed to inform re- sponses to the effects of climate change in- cluding working with other agencies to rais- ing awareness of the impacts of climate change on communities (e.g. specific ac- tions under the Citizen Safety, Health and Wellbeing theme)

No

The magnitude and spatial extent of the effects (geographical area and size of the population likely to be affected)

Areas of characteristics and cultural heritage within Cork City are provided with a level of protection from both planning policy and planning legislation. However, Cork  City Council Draft Climate Change  Adaptation Strategy is designed to inform responses throughout the local authority to the effects of climate change and does not identify specific areas for development.

No

The value and vulnerability of the area likely to be affected due  to:

  • special natural characteris- tics or cultural  heritage;
  • exceeded environmental quality standards or limit val- ues;  and
  • intensive land-use.

Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy is designed to inform re- sponses throughout the local authority to the effects of climate change, and to incor- porate adaptation measures into all plans and policy produced by the council. This strategy will not result in development plans or set a framework for future development, and as such will not result in changes to the landscape, land-use or exceed environ- mental parameters.

No

The effects on areas or land- scapes which have a recognised national, community or interna- tional protection status.

Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Ad- aptation Strategy is designed to inform re- sponses throughout the local authority to the effects of climate change and does not identify specific areas for development.

Any effects uncovered as part of this pro- cess will be considered in relation to the characteristics of the effects and of the area likely to be affected, and the process will have regard, in particular, to the criteria as listed, according to the legislation.

No

 

5 CONCLUSION

This SEA Screening Report was carried out in order to determine the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment for Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy prepared under the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework. It has been  concluded,  based  on  the  pre-screening  check, and review against the environmental significance criteria as set out in Annex II of the SEA Directive, that a Strategic Environmental Assessment is not required. Furthermore, the purpose of this Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is to inform Local Authority policies, procedures and further plans on the need to incorporate climate change adaptation measures and it does not set out  projects, plans  or  specific measures.

It is likely, that through the implementation of Cork City Councils Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, that there would be expected beneficial effects, as it aims to reduce risk from climate change. Specific actions in the strategy propose environmentally friendly adaptation measures, particularly actions falling from the objective under the Natural Resources and Cultural Infrastructure theme, for example, one objective under this theme is; Identify potential ecological corridors and connectivity issues between   areas. Identify the potential to open up culverted rivers and incorporate softer engineering solutions.

Identify locations to create new habitats for native flora and fauna e.g. urban orchards, allotments, green roofs and walls, many of which will assist in reducing the affects of the ‘heat island effect’.Protect existing wetlands and identify new ones which may arise as a result of climate change.