5. Transition to a low carbon economy

Dúntadate_range3 M.F., 2019, 9:00am - 15 D.F., 2019, 5:00pm


Climate change is one of the most pressing global public policy challenges facing governments today. This LAP recognises that objectives to facilitate increased passenger numbers at Dublin Airport must be considered in the context of the need to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard the environment in which the Airport is based.

In addition to supporting the implementation of international and industry–led initiatives associated with improvements to aircraft and engine design, air traffic and other operational efficiencies to reduce carbon emissions, this LAP places a strong emphasis on contributing towards carbon emissions reduction within areas which can be addressed within the planning process. This LAP seeks to pursue climate mitigation in line with global and national targets and support the transition towards a low carbon economy by seeking to reduce CO2 emissions at the Airport in particular through:

  • Providing for specific proposals to reduce carbon emissions associated with surface access;

  • Requiring proposals for carbon reduction to be addressed in planning applications including proposals for clean energy;

  • Support the transition towards a net zero target by 2050.


Greenhouse gases are the subject of agreements at international, EU and national level. The United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the Rio Convention in 1992. The UNFCCC objective seeks to: “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. A Conference of Parties (COP) is held annually in order to review the Convention’s implementation. At COP21 in Paris 2015, the parties reached a legally binding and universal agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre- industrial levels.


In response to international objectives to reduce carbon emissions the International Civil Aviation Organisations (ICAO) adopted the following goal:

Limit or reduce the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate.

The global aviation industry, acting through ICAO, committed itself in its 2013 Resolution on Climate Change to adopting a ‘basket of measures’ consistent with that overarching goal, namely:

  • More innovative technologies, with the recommendation of a new CO2 emissions standard for aircraft;

  • More efficient operational procedures, including the adoption of a Global Air Navigation Plan;

  • The use of sustainable alternative fuels, including biofuels; or

  • EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which includes CO2 emissions from aviation.


The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), to which the Republic of Ireland is a signatory, includes CO2 emissions from aviation. Since 2012, greenhouse gas emissions associated with flights operating in the European Economic Area (EEA), including domestic flights as well as those to and from third countries, are covered by the EU ETS. Airlines are required to monitor, report and verify their emissions and to surrender allowances against those emissions. Airlines receive tradable allowances covering a certain level of emissions from their flights per year and must purchase allowances to cover any shortfall between their allocated sum of free emissions allowances and their actual emissions, as reported annually.

To support the planned development of a global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the EU agreed in 2014 to limit the scope of aviation in the EU ETS to flights within the EEA. CORSIA will come into effect in 2021 and aims to stabilise global aviation emissions at 2020 levels by requiring airlines to offset any emissions growth after 2020 by purchasing eligible emission units generated by projects that reduce emissions in other sectors. As Ireland is a member of ICAO, Irish aircraft operators will have to offset any emissions growth after 2020 by purchasing eligible emission units, i.e. pay full carbon price.


The Airports Council International (ACI) leads and serves the European airport industry as ‘the voice of Europe’s airports’. In 2009, ACI Europe launched the Airport Carbon Accreditation, allowing the assessment and recognition of participating airports’ efforts to manage and reduce their CO2 emissions. Airports within the ACI have an ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral and the accreditation recognises the work being done by airports to achieve this.

Dublin Airport participates in the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) scheme and is currently recognised as at ‘Reduction’ status, meaning that it has to provide a carbon footprint report and provide evidence of effective carbon management procedures, the aim of which is to demonstrate that a reduction in carbon footprint has occurred. It cannot move through the subsequent stages of Carbon Accreditation without doing so.


The National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development 2014, adopted a vision of reducing CO2 emissions in Ireland by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels) from the electricity generation, built environment and transport sectors. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 provides the statutory basis for the national objective laid out in the National Policy Position; and the Climate Change Advisory Council, an independent advisory body tasked with assessing and advising on how Ireland is making the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economyby 2050 in line with the 2015 Act.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport work collaboratively to address the environmental impact of aviation. Both Departments are fully committed to pursuing an agenda in favour of reducing emissions and have worked to ensure that Ireland makes an informed contribution to discussions relating to development of EU ETS Aviation and also the ongoing development of CORSIA. The National Aviation Policy reinforces Ireland’s commitment to the development of a sustainable, resource efficient aviation sector.

The National Mitigation Plan (Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment 2017), includes Measure T12 – Aviation Efficiency that states the following:

The Irish and UK National Supervisory Authorities (NSAs) created the UK-Ireland Functional Airspace Block (FAB) in 2008 to help reduce fragmentation of air navigation service provision across Europe and improve efficiencies. In the first four years of the FAB operation, it delivered over €70m of savings to customers, including 232,000 tonnes of CO2 from 73,000 tonnes of fuel.


The Climate Action Plan is an all of Government plan to tackle climate change and bring about a step change in Irelands climate ambition over the coming years. The plan sets out an ambitious course of action over the coming years to address the diverse and wide ranging impacts climate disruption is having on Ireland’s environment, society, economic and natural resources.

The Climate Action Plan sets out clear 2030 targets for each sector with the ultimate objective of achieving a transition to a competitive, low-carbon, climate-resilient, and environmentally sustainable society and economy by 2050. The plan outlines the current state of play across key sectors, many of which are relevant to the Dublin Airport LAP including Electricity, Transport, Built Environment, and Industry and charts a course towards ambitious decarbonisation targets. Measures set out in the Climate Action Plan which the Local Authority has a role in and which can be supported in the LAP include the following:

  • Transport: Measures to deliver targets which include modal shift in favour of sustainable modes by providing good public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure, so people are less reliant on their cars. Of relevance to the LAP area are major sustainable-mobility projects including MetroLink and the BusConnects Programme and walking and cycling routes that will form part of a comprehensive cycling and walking network for the metropolitan area, with a particular emphasis on safety of cyclists and expanded greenways.

  • Also relevant to the LAP is the promotion of compact growth and greater integration of policies for land use and transport planning, which will reduce the demand for commuter travel and support more efficient patterns of development and travel.

  • Electricity: increase reliance on renewables and micro- generation.

  • Buildings: improved energy efficiency in buildings and heating including increased use of district heating systems and heat pumps.

  • Waste and Circular Economy: reduction in plastics, food waste, and resource use.


Fingal County Council’s Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024 includes actions relating to the integration of Spatial Planning and Transport. One of the actions in the plan aims ‘To plan spatial development patterns which reduce transport demand and encourage low carbon transport modes. E.g. consolidation of the existing communities already served by public transport and close to established social and community infrastructure and the creation of new communities serviced by high quality transport links’. This action is supported in this LAP.


daa has developed a Sustainability Strategy to communicate, implement and foster the principles of sustainability with a commitment to deliver sustainable growth that takes account of environmental factors which strives to:

  • Minimise negative impacts on the environment;

  • Consume as few resources as possible;

  • Communicate what is being done to staff, community and passengers.

To achieve the commitments of their Sustainability Strategy, daa has implemented working groups in key environmental priority areas including carbon, energy, waste, water, environmental management and green procurement. Fingal County Council supports the ongoing implementation of this sustainability strategy through active participation in the Dublin Airport Environmental Working Group.


This LAP seeks to pursue climate mitigation in line with global and national targets and support the transition towards a low carbon economy by seeking to reduce CO2 emissions at the Airport. Specific objectives to facilitate actions contained in the Climate Action Plan 2019 are incorporated, including proposals relating to surface access and renewable energy.

Strong emphasis is placed on reducing climate emissions through increasing use of more sustainable transport modes for surface access to and from Dublin Airport. Chapter 8 of this LAP sets out objectives to provide for significant improvements in mode split in favour of walking, cycling and public transport, as well as proposals for enhanced mobility management plans. A particular emphasis is placed on targeting these modes towards airport employees to achieve a greater impact on reduction of carbon emissions by enhancing accessibility to Swords to the north and Dublin City to the south. MetroLink is considered to be significant in achieving this aim in the longer term. Over the life of this plan more immediate action in reducing carbon emissions is to be achieved by supporting the provision of pedestrian and cycle routes and a Core Bus Corridor as part of the NTA BusConnects project. These objectives are complimented by restricting increased employee car parking at the Airport.

Future development at Dublin Airport will be required to demonstrate the integration of renewables-focused energy generation systems to support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction in the Airport’s carbon footprint. Development proposals at the Airport will be required to address carbon emissions as part of planning applications for larger scale developments.


Support relevant provisions contained in the Fingal County Council Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024, the National Climate Action Plan 2019 and any subsequent plan(s), National Climate Change Adaptation Framework 2018 and any subsequent plan(s) and the National Mitigation Plan 2017 and any subsequent plan(s).


Major applications for aviation related expansion at Dublin Airport shall be supported by a carbon reduction strategy to include mitigation measures for implementation as part of development proposals.


Require that all new developments at the Airport incorporate design solutions aimed at reducing carbon emissions, including the incorporation of renewable energy and energy saving technologies where practicable, including the use of district heating/cooling systems.


Facilitate, where appropriate, sustainable energy development proposals and projects at Dublin Airport.


Facilitate improved public transport links to and from the Airport and require that all traffic generating applications at the Airport demonstrate measures to maximise non-motorised and public transport use while minimising the use of the private car.


All planning applications including proposals for more than 20 car parking spaces shall demonstrate provision and installation of Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure.


Waste management in Ireland is regulated by the Waste Management Acts, 1996 to 2011, which require Local Authorities to prepare detailed plans for the management of waste. The Fingal Development Plan 2017-23 includes objectives for Waste Management for the Fingal area.

The Eastern Midlands Region Waste Management Plan 2015 -2021 was adopted in May 2015. The overall vision of the Regional Waste Management Plan is to rethink the approach taken towards managing waste and that waste should be seen as a valuable material resource. The plan also supports a move towards achieving a circular economy which is essential if the region is to make better use of resources and become more resource efficient. In the global economy, the demand and competition for finite and sometimes scarce resources will continue to increase, and pressure on resources is causing greater environmental degradation and fragility. Making better uses of these resources, reducing the leakage of materials from our economies, will deliver benefits economically and environmentally.

Relevant policies and objectives in this LAP can assist in underpinning the objectives of the Regional Waste Management Plan. In particular, the LAP can also assist in ensuring that the design of new developments accommodate segregated waste collection systems and that during the construction of new development, waste including demolition waste, is appropriately managed.

daa has developed plans and targets to improve waste management at the Airport. daa’s Sustainability Strategy, which includes proposals to consume as few resources as possible, includes a working group in relation to waste with the aim of implementing daa’s waste policy objectives to minimise waste generation and increase rates of waste recycling.


Support, where appropriate, the provision of proposals to aid the transition from a waste management economy to a green circular economy.


Promote a waste prevention and minimisation programme to target all aspects of waste in the LAP boundary area, focusing on all airport, commercial and domestic waste producers.

Clár ábhair


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