Council aiming at net zero by 2050

By 2050, Westmeath County Council hopes to achieve net zero in terms of carbon emissions, Green Party councillor and current mayor, Hazel Smyth, was informed at the January meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad.

Cllr Smyth formally asked at the meeting if Westmeath County Council had been certified under the ISO 14001 Environmental Policy, or if it was taking measures to achieve this certification.

The written response to Mayor Smyth stated that the ISO 14001 was a standard committing an organisation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental impact, but that Westmeath County Council has not undertaken to secure this standard.

“Rather In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, Westmeath Council is guided by the reduction targets as set by government in respect of public bodies between 2020 and 2030 (51% reduction), reaching the goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” the reply stated.

Continuing, it said Westmeath County Council is committed to fulfilling these targets and will undertake a number of mitigation actions to achieve this goal.

“Baseline data is currently being collated which will inform actions to reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint in line with targets. This element will form part of Westmeath County Council’s forthcoming Climate Action Plan, which will comprise mitigation and adaptation measures, both internal and external to the organisation.”

Mayor Smyth said that there are councils – such as Meath and Tipperary – which have achieved the ISO certification.

“I’m just wondering why it is that we might not be striving to do the same,” she said.

Director of services David Jones said carbon reduction targets have been set for Westmeath and the county is putting structures in place, including the appointment of its climate action officer.

“As that resource beds in over time, we can look again at achieving that particular standard,” he said, adding that either way, the council will be looking at dramatically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.