Laois County Council aims to cut Portlaoise’s carbon emissions by 72% by the end of the decade in a new plan.
This target is set in the Carbon Footprint report for Portlaoise – the first of its kind for a county town in Ireland which was commissioned by Laois County Council as part of the Low Carbon Town initiative supported by Government in Project Ireland 2040.
The report fixes a reference point for emissions both in time and in quantum for Portlaoise and will serve to underpin the community wide effort to tackle climate change.
It reveals that Portlaoise, which has a population of about 23,000 people, produces the equivalent of 99,159 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
That is over 4 tonnes of CO2 per person per year net of aviation and agriculture. The report sets out options and opportunities to reduce carbon emissions by up to 72%.
The study confirms that in order to achieve this target and the nationally agreed target of 7% per annum there must be an investment in local renewable energy generation, an investment in deep retrofitting of homes and a big shift towards electric vehicles, public transport, cycling and walking throughout the decarbonised zone of Portlaoise.
In addition, the report underscores the value of biodiversity and tree planting in urban areas and the necessity to re-use existing building stock in the town centre.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Councillor Catherine Fitzgerald welcomed the report.
She said: “The Government has set a target of halving the country’s carbon footprint by 2030. This report sets out the scale of that challenge for Portlaoise and the county.
“This report will inform the conversation on how best to plan for our low carbon future.”
Chief Executive of Laois County Council John Mulholland stated: “This is one of the most important reports prepared by Laois County Council for some time.
“It provides real clarity on the path ahead towards tackling the climate change issue and it sets out unambiguously the choices for our community over the next decade.
“In launching this report it is important to acknowledge the ongoing support of local business, stakeholders and communities in taking on some of the work associated with the low carbon challenge.
“We are grateful to have the active support of the Portlaoise Town Team, Portlaoise Tidy Towns and local transport companies in leading a very active community response.
“I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government under the Urban Regeneration Fund in assisting to deliver the Low Carbon Town Project. Laois County Council will continue its engagement with the public on how to meet the government’s target of 50% reduction in CO2 for Portlaoise and the County.”
The report is available on the Council website.