Below please find the text of the email send by Clare PPN to all sitting Clare County Councillors on 6th September 2019
I am writing to you on behalf of Clare PPN in relation to the following agenda items for next Monday September 9ths Council Meeting
- SPC Scheme
- Report to Council on Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019-2024
- Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019 – 2024
In respect of item 13. SPC scheme
I have linked the submission Clare PPN has made in relation to that here (https://clareppn.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Clare-PPN-Submission-SCHEME-FOR-THE-STRATEGIC-POLICY-COMMITTEES-2019-2024-003.pdf) and wish to draw to your attention as Councillors that we have in brief requested the following- that a separate Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee be set up as provided for under the Government’s Climate Action Strategy 2019:
3.3 ‘Local authorities have significant structures and experience in engaging citizens through their planning functions, particularly local area planning and as facilitators of the Public Participation Networks (PPNs). They can also effectively contribute to climate action in the fulfilment of their existing statutory functions. Climate change considerations should be addressed across all local authority plans, policies and activities including through their existing Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs) and a dedicated new Climate Change SPC for climate action.’
On behalf of our environmental college members we would like to draw it to your attention that they do not consider the above requirement to be met by the existing Physical Development SPC which has other areas of responsibility. Our members as consulted on this strategy request strongly that a separate dedicated Climate Change and Biodiversity Committee is set up.
We have also requested that the current Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee be reconvened as a Strategic Policy Committee and included in the scheme. This is in line with the recommendations from the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee’s independent review of funding for traveller specific accommodation attached below. (https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/2017.07.07_independent_review_of_funding_for_traveller-specific_accommodation.pdf
In respect of item 15. Report to Council on Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019- 2024,
We note that our submission made to this programme (https://clareppn.ie/clare-ppn-submission-in-respect-of-the-preparation-of-a-draft-traveller-accommodation-programme-2019-2024/) was not taken on board and neither were our suggestions to postpone or stagger the adoption of this plan until such a time as the community affected by it had been consulted effectively. We also requested that the last scheduled LTACC meeting would be delayed by one day in order to facilitate a consultation we had organised with the Traveller Primary Health Care workers who had conducted extensive research with the Traveller Community in Clare and so were in a position to contribute in an informed way. This delay was not facilitated and the LTACC meeting did not take place.
As a result Clare PPN has forwarded the notes from this consultation to the Minister of State for Planning and Urban Development, Damien English, and to the Commissioner for Human Rights at IHREC Emily Logan. As a result of all of the above, the Traveller Accommodation Strategy as presented to Clare County Council has not had any engagement from the Traveller Community and Clare PPN calls on you the Councillors not to pass it until effective participation has been conducted. We indicate as we have done previously, that we are willing to assist in whatever way we can in organising such participation. We include below the notes from our consultation session with the Traveller Primary Health Care Workers as forwarded to the Minister of State and Human Rights Commission for your information. https://clareppn.ie/traveller-primary-health-care-clare-ppn-notes-on-traveller-accomodation/
In respect of item 16 Climate Change Adaption Strategy 2019- 2024
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that Clare PPN organised a consultation workshop on the draft of this Strategy on July 31st 2019. This workshop was attended by 40 individuals which included representatives of more than 27 Environmental Groups in County Clare. They prepared an extensive submission to the strategy which included concrete proposals on a range of issues and which we submitted on their behalf.
We have received no response or request for further information in respect of any aspect of that submission and it has been brought to our attention today that the report on the consultation process from the Physical Development Directorate recommends to you the Councillors that the Climate Adaptation Strategy be adopted as originally drafted without any single change despite the fact that 28 other public submissions were made in addition to Clare PPN’s own collective submission.
We are calling on you as Councillors to do your best to ensure that the input of the expertise from the Community and Voluntary Sector is given proper consideration and respect and that the local authority be requested to convene a public meeting in response to the range of submissions it received. Clare PPN notes that in other local authority areas the LA organised public information sessions on the Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy and in one case (Cork City) a special meeting of the full council was convened to discuss it and members of the public were invited to attend. We attach here our joint submission for your attention. https://clareppn.ie/clare-ppn-cen-submission-to-draft-climate-adaptation-strategy-2019-2024/
On behalf of our member groups and all of those who participated with us on a voluntary basis on the above submissions we request that you would give your attention to the above and work with us to ensure that Clare County Council is open and flexible and that the voices of those affected are heard in all policy decisions.