First Progress Report of the Just Transition Commissioner
Press Release 22nd May 2020
Longford County Council welcomes the publication of the first Progress Report of the Just Transition Commissioner, together with the initial response from Government.
The report makes a series of interim and innovative recommendations, providing opportunities and processes for securing employment in the Midlands, including for ESB and Bord na Móna workers, in relation to: the Just Transition Fund; infrastructure; land and facilities; tourism, heritage and leisure; planning, licensing and regulation; a centre for climate change and just transition; incentivising green and allied enterprises to locate in the Midlands; renewable energy potential; the carbon tax; electric vehicle charging; and loss of rates income.
The Government response addresses, among other things, the Just Transition Fund for the Midlands, the Midlands Retrofitting Scheme and Peatlands Rehabilitation.
Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive, Longford County Council, explained ‘The Commissioner’s report provides recommendations for addressing some of the challenges presented by the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient society. It proposes interventions to mitigate the impact on the local economy and communities, provide employment opportunities and deliver sustainable economic development.”
Cathaoirleach, Councillor Gerard Farrell, welcomed confirmation from Government regarding the Just Transition Fund for the Midlands which amounts to €11 million in 2020. He said ‘It is important that groups and organisations identify and propose projects for potential support which will support a Just Transition in Lanesboro, Longford and the wider Midlands. In keeping with just transition principles, these should be projects which create new opportunities and reduce negative consequences on communities and individuals most affected by the move to a low carbon society.’
The EU Start Engagement Process is collating proposals for projects which can assist a positive transition from peat harvesting and power generation in affected communities and related groups in the wider Midland Region. Guidance is available which explains how community based organisations, public, private and third sector organisations can make proposals. There is also an explanation of the submission and assessment process.
There will be a two stage process for accessing the Just Transition funding. Stage 1 is to register details of potential projects with the START engagement process that opens today (22nd May). Project proposals must be submitted by Friday 12th June.
Stage 2 will see the launch of the Just Transition Fund for applications by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. This will open in the week of 15th June with full details published on the Department’s website.
The Cathaoirleach, Councillor Gerard Farrell, explained ‘Individuals, groups and organisations will find ideas and insights on the types of projects and activities which could help create a more positive future for our communities affected by the phasing out of peat production and the closure of the Lough Ree power station.’
Paddy Mahon concluded ‘Longford County Council will provide leadership in the delivery of economic and social interventions in support of a Just Transition for the region. The Council will continue to support the Government’s climate action plan and deliver on our commitment to supporting local communities in sustainable economic development.
Note for Editor
This link provides guidance which explains how community based organisations, public, private and third sector organisations can make proposals using the application form which can be accessed here. There is also an explanation of the submission and assessment process.
Project proposal forms for completion are available on midlandsireland.ie. Completed forms should be submitted by Friday 12th June, following the guidance provided. Please note that registering projects through this Engagement Process, is the first stage in applying for funds from the Just Transition Fund.
Queried about the process should be sent to JustTransition@mrtt.ie by Tuesday, June 2nd. A collated set of questions and answers will be subsequently published on the www.midlandsireland.ie website.
The Just Transition Progress Report is available to view (here) along with the Initial Government Response to the Report (here).