Second Phase of Land Use Review Begins in Ireland
The second phase of the land use review, which will determine the emissions reduction target for the land use, land use change, and forestry sector (LULUCF), has officially commenced. The announcement was made by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan. The first phase of the review, focused on evidence gathering, was completed earlier this year.
The objective of the second phase, as stated by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, is to identify the key demands on both public and private land. This information will inform policies for land use across government objectives, with a focus on improving socio-economic, climate, biodiversity, water, and air quality outcomes. The department emphasizes the importance of socio-economic outcomes, including food and fiber production, incomes and employment, particularly on family farms, maintaining resilient rural communities, and providing housing and housing materials.
Furthermore, the department acknowledges the significant role that farmers and farm families play as custodians of the environment and their contribution to the overall success of the economy and society. Phase 2 of the review aims to build on the momentum already achieved in sustainable food production and environmental ambitions. It emphasizes that any measures made available to farmers will be voluntary and implemented in partnership and collaboration with the government.
The department emphasizes the critical nature of the remaining years of this decade in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. It highlights the importance of clean air and water for the health and welfare of the population. The findings of the land use review will inform the preparation of future Climate Action Plans, including the consideration of LULUCF targets and the identification of policies and measures to achieve emissions reductions in the sector.
The oversight group responsible for delivering phase 2 of the land use review will be chaired by Geraldine Tallon, a retired secretary general of the Department of the Environment. Tallon will report to Ministers Ryan, McConalogue, and Noonan. The group will prepare both an interim report and a final report, taking into account the outputs of two working groups that will be established.
The technical working group, chaired by Mark Scott, Professor of Planning and Dean of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy at University College Dublin (UCD), will focus on the technical aspects of the review. The citizen engagement working group, chaired by Rory O’Donnell, retired Director of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), will be responsible for communicating, informing, engaging, and motivating all stakeholders in the agreed national priorities for the necessary transition in land use.
In conclusion, the second phase of the land use review in Ireland is a crucial step in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. By identifying key demands on land and involving stakeholders, including farmers, the government aims to achieve sustainable food production, environmental goals, and socio-economic outcomes. The findings of the review will inform future Climate Action Plans and contribute to the overall success of the economy and society.