Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (FODC) launch their Community Plan ‘From Talk to Action’ – 8 week Consultation

 

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Following the launch of the Community Plan, an Action Plan has been produced including actions which will help to begin to jointly tackle the major issues in the district.  A high level of partnership will be required to achieve this, with a focus on prevention and early intervention.   Some of the actions can be delivered in the short to medium term, others will take longer to fully achieve.  The draft Fermanagh Omagh 2030 Community Plan Action Plan can be downloaded here

Community Planning

Community planning brings together partner organisations from the public, private and community/voluntary sectors. Partners work together with local communities to deliver better public services which meet local needs and to improve the lives of local people.

Community planning is a new statutory duty which came into operation on 1 April 2015 as part of the full implementation of local government reform. As the lead partner, the Council is responsible for making arrangements for community planning in its area. You can find out more about the statutory duty here.

The “Fermanagh Omagh 2030” Community Plan is the overarching plan for the Fermanagh and Omagh district, bringing together the knowledge, expertise and collective resources of a wide range of partners, all working towards a single agreed vision. The Community Planning Partnership  believes that services and quality of life for all in the district can be improved by getting the public, private and community/voluntary sectors working together better towards our agreed vision and 8 long-term outcomes.

The plan has been co-designed with input from all key stakeholders including the wider community. The co-design process took place over 2015 and 2016 and the plan itself was launched in March 2017.

The draft Action Plan is available for consultation for 8 weeks between 18 December 2017 and 11 February 2018.  As the plans are about citizens place and their future, their say and engagement is important.  The Community Planning Partnership is keen to hear the views of citzens about what is included in the Action Plan.  You can complete an online survey here

FODC invite people to attend their Drop-in Public Information Events which will be held in January on the dates below.

Lisnaskea Library 16th January 2018, 6pm – 8pm

Omagh Library 17th January 2018, 10am – 8pm

Enniskillen Library 23rd January 2018, 10am – 8pm

Owenkillew Community Centre, Gortin 24th January 2018, 6pm – 8pm

Special arrangements will be made to accommodate attendees at each workshop.  Please contact FODC in advance for special requirements where requests will be accommodated where possible.  At the events, people will be given an opportunity to talk to trained facilitators who will discuss the Action Plan and note comments and input.

Following consultation, a report will be prepared and presented to the Community Planning Strategic Partnership Board for consideration before agreement of the final Action Plan.

You can make comments on the Action Plan via FODCs digital platform through Facebook and Twitter.  FODCs Facebook and Twitter accounts are @fermanaghomagh.  The Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan also has a hashtag where all communications are brought together for collective viewing: #fermanaghomagh2030

If you would like more information about the Community Plan Action Plan, please contact Oonagh Donnelly, Community Planning Officer by telephoning 0300 303 1777, ext 20213, textphone 028 8225 6216 or email community.planning@fermanaghomagh.com

 

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Ireland to test floating offshore wind concepts in Galway Bay

Galway Bay

The Irish government has confirmed that permission has been granted to use a site in Galway Bay to test marine renewable energy, including floating offshore wind. Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Damien English said Ireland’s Marine Institute has been awarded a foreshore lease for the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site.

The test site, located 1.5 km off the coast of An Spidéal, will allow for the deployment and testing of a range of prototype marine renewable energy devices, innovative marine technologies and novel sensors. The facility will also provide access to the SmartBay observatory allowing researchers and scientists to conduct research in the marine environment. The Marine Institute had operated a test site at the same location for 11 years until March 2017, generating a significant research knowledge base. The test site will provide researchers and those involved in developing ocean energy devices with an area in which to test and demonstrate quarter-scale prototype ocean energy converters and related technologies.

A maximum of three marine renewable energy test devices will be deployed at the test site at any time and will only be deployed for a maximum duration of 18 months, with the exception of any floating wind device which may only be deployed for a maximum of 12 months. The lease has been granted on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid. The Galway Bay test site will operate for up to 35 years, with devices on site intermittently throughout the year. Under the terms of the lease, the Marine Institute will produce an environmental monitoring plan for the test site, and make all the findings of the monitoring programme available to the public.

Published on Thursday 21st Dec 2017 by David Foxwell

 

 

GREBE’s Funding Options Online Tool


Networking in Action #2

GREBE’s Funding Options tool provides information on the funding mechanisms currently available in the partner regions (Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway and Scotland). The information will be useful to both funding agencies (e.g. business support agencies and municipalities) and to SMEs giving details of funding options available in their regions. The tool will help to ensure that funders in the different regions can learn about mechanisms and implementation strategies in use in other parts of the NPA area.

The main focus is on public support for renewable businesses but both private sector and social investment options have been included where appropriate. The supports included are for SMEs and Micro businesses but also include options for those SMEs expected to grow rapidly (e.g. High Potential Start Ups). The business support funding mechanisms considered vary from standard ‘hard’ business support options (e.g. loans and venture capital) to softer supports (e.g. innovation schemes, business partner search supports etc.).  Options are available to search for mechanisms which are specific to the renewable energy sector, and also based on the geographical area (local, region, national, EU etc.) the support covers.  There is considerable variation in the ways different funding options are implemented and these differences will impact on the success of schemes.

Renewable businesses in each region will be able to check what supports are available in their own region and contact points for applications.  GREBE’s Business Supports Catalogue is also available to download on the tool. We hope that by using this tool those who seek funding and support for renewable businesses will have a clear portfolio of options which are available to them.  This tool is available on our renewablebusiness.eu platform at http://support.renewablebusiness.eu/

Scottish Government awards £2.6m to innovative local green energy solutions

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The Scottish Government has awarded 12 projects a total of £2.6m as part of its Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme. The projects, among which are initiatives in Glencoe, Callander, Aviemore, Stromness and St Andrews, are tasked with developing local, green energy solutions.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said:  “The Scottish Government has set some of the most ambitious carbon reduction targets on the planet – exceeding the requirements of the Paris agreement – and is making excellent progress towards meeting them.”

“We have also set our sights on eradicating fuel poverty – which is an unacceptable blight on too many households in Scotland in 2017 – as energy prices have risen steadily, at a time when wages have been depressed due to a weak UK economy and austerity. These twin challenges drive our ambition for innovative local energy projects, such as those for which we are today announcing £2.6 million of funding, as these will provide many consumers, including in some of Scotland’s most remote areas, with an alternative, greener, and potentially cheaper energy source. The construction and maintenance of these projects will also have the added benefit of creating and sustaining jobs, and in doing so can bolster local economies.”

A total of 10 projects received development funding to produce Investment Grade Business Cases, which received a share of £550,000, which will matched by project partners. Two other projects received capital support of £1.95 million, the largest being the Halo Kilmarnock Project. The HALO Kilmarnock development in the West of Scotland will feature a 2,000-metre deep geothermal well, from which hot water will be extracted using a small pump. It is due to be drilled in 2018. Scotland’s first deep geothermal district heating network has been allocated £1.8 million of grant funding by the government. This will involve a former bottling plant being converted into a low carbon development which will include hundreds of affordable homes.

Another project will be based around the low carbon heat provision at the University of the West of Scotland’s Ayr campus, energy efficient homes for older people in North Lanarkshire and an energy project in Glencoe Village.

Below is a table showing the projects, lead applicant, location, total cost and LCITP support received.

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European Union policy for the Arctic

NSP 06-07-2016

The Arctic states have primary responsibility for tackling issues within their territories, many of the issues affecting the Arctic region can be more effectively addressed through multilateral cooperation.

This is why EU engagement is important in the Arctic region. Building on previous initiatives, the European Parliament has started the work on developing an integrated European Union policy for the Arctic – that focuses on advancing international cooperation in responding to the impacts of climate change on the Arctic’s fragile environment, and promoting and contributing to sustainable development in the European part of the Arctic (EU –Commission resolution by 27.04.2016).

  1. BACKGROUND

Reasons for EU’s focus on the Arctic region:

Climate change – In recent years, the Arctic’s role in climate change has become much more prominent. Wheras in the past attention focused almost solely on the effects of climate change in the Arctic, more recently there has been growing awarness that feedback loops are turning the Arctic into a contributor to climate change. Understanding these dynamics, and helping to develop specific strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Arctic, will form the EU’s wider efforts to combat climate change.

Arctic environment – Given the important role of Arctic as a regulator for the climate of the planet and acting as a sink for long-range pollution, the EU has a duty to protect the fragile Arctic environment and strengthen ecosystem resilience. The EU Arctic policy will be an important element to produce the adaptation strategies that are needed to help Arctic inhabitants respond to the serious challenges they face because of climate change.

Sustainable development – Taking in to account both the traditional livelihoods of those living in the region and the impact of economic development on the Arctic’s fragile environment. The EU should contribute to enhancing the economic and environmental resilience of societies in the Arctic. A number of EU activities and decisions are having an impact on economic developments in the Arctic region and EU is a major consumer of products coming from the Arctic states, such as fish products and energy. Investment by European companies can help advance sustainable development in the Arctic region.

International strategic importance – In recent years, the arctic region has acquired a higher profile in international relations due to its increasing environmental, economic and strategic importance. The EU already contributes substantially to Arctic research and regional developments. The opportunities of the Arctic can also increase tensions in the region – thorough competition for the resources and increasing economic activity. It is now more important than ever to ensure that the Arctic remains a zone of peace and constructive international cooperation.

Investment – A recent report: “A Strategic Vision for the North – May 2015” estimated investment opportunities in the Barents region alone to be EUR 140 billion. Regional ‘Smart specialisation strategies’ combined with EU funding, can help to develop local models of sustainable growth and job creation in the European Arctic with potential benefits across the EU:

  • Investment by European private capital
  • Investment by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
  • Activities under the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE)

2. PRIORITY AREAS

Against this background the European Parliament has asked the Commission for Foreign Affairs to develop an integrated policy on Arctic matters, and to develop a framework for EU action and funding programmes that focuses on three priority areas:

  • Climate change and safeguarding the Arctic environment
  • Sustainable development in and around the Arctic
  • International cooperation on Arctic issues

The main target for the EU Arctic policy is research and innovation – which will play a key role across all the three priority areas.

3. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AND AROUND THE ARCTIC

Sustainable economic development faces specific challenges in the Arctic region. Compared with other parts of Europe, the European part of the Arctic region is rich in natural resources such as fish, minerals, oil and gas – but is characterised by lack of transport links such as road, rail and flight connections, and has a sparse population spread over a wide area.

This means that the European part of the Arctic region has a significant potential to support growth in the rest of Europe. Through its’ Member State and its’ close ties with Iceland and Norway, as members of the European Economic Area (EEA), the EU can play an influential role in shaping the future development of the European part of the Arctic through the application of EU rules relevant for the EEA and the deployment of financial instruments.

The climate of the Arctic region makes it an ideal innovation site for cold climate technologies and services. Harsh climatic conditions and fragile environment require specialised technology and know-how to meet high environmental standards – and a lot of other opportunities. The European Commission will help to monitor opportunities in the Arctic region by giving priority to:

  1. Sustainable economic activities and innovation:
  • Cold Climate Technology
  • SME Competitivness and innovation
  • Climate research
  • Green Economy – Renewable energy/Multi-source energy systems
  • Blue Economy – Aquaculture, fisheries, marine biotechnology

     2. Project financing through EU territorial cooperation programmes:

  • Interreg Nord
  • Botnia-Atlantica Programme
  • The Baltic Sea Region Programme
  • The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme
  • The Kolarctic cross-border cooperation programmes

 3.  Innovation support:

  • ESIF Programmes
  • Horizon 2020
  • European Investment Bank Group
  • The European Enterprise Network
  • European Arctic Stakeholder Forum
  • Arctic EU Funds
  • European Investment Advisory Hub
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

 4. Infrastructure Projects:

  • European Investment Bank (Transport connections, telecom, energy efficiency)
  • Trans-European network for Transport (TENT)

 

EUROPEAN ARCTIC STAKEHOLDER FORUM

Consultations between the Commission and the European External Action Service has lead to the conclusion that the Arctic region is suffering from underinvestment. Recognising this, the Comission will set up a European Arctic stakeholder forum with the aim to enhancing collaboration and coordination between different funding programmes. This temporary forum should bring together EU institutions, Member States, and regional authorities to contribute to identifying key investment and research priorities for EU funds in the region.

Complementary to the forum, the NPA programme will lead a pilot activity aiming at bringing together a network of managing authorities and stakeholders from various regional development programmes in the European part of the Arctic. It is to facilitate the exchange of information, plan and coordinate calls for proposals and monitor the impact of programmes on the region. The new collaborative network will also be open to participation by relevant national and international financing instruments. The network feeds into the work of the stakeholder forum in identifying the research and investment priorities.

To bring the results of the forum and network, the Commission will fund and facilitate an annual Arctic stakeholder conference in the European Arctic region – after 2017 – to strengthen collaboration and networking between stakeholders to improve international project development in the Arctic region.

CONCLUSIONS

Through its Member State and its close ties with Iceland and Norway, the EU would play an influential role in shaping the future development of the European part of the Arctic through EU rules relevant for the EEA and the deployment of financial instruments focusing on innovation priority areas, project financing, innovation support and infrastructure programmes.

The European policy for the Arctic region would guide the EU’s actions for the coming years, but the Commission will keep the Arctic policy under review in light of developments. This will als ogive the participants in the GREBE-Project opportunity to contribute to identifying key investment and research priorities to EU – through the European stakeholder forum and the NPA stakeholder network and take part in and bring result in to the annual Arctic stakeholder conference in 2018. Work Package 4 with focus on SME innovation and harsh climate conditions challenging the opportunities in the ‘Green Economy’ sector.

The rich resources of the Arctic region has the potential to support economic growth in the rest of Europe, and the strategic importance of the Arctic region has increased as a result of this – and the willingness to invest in the area is huge, both from EU investment fund and EU innovation programmes.

The GREBE-Project has participants from the Arctic region and EU – so the integrated EU policy for the Arctic gives the GREBE-projects opportunities to have an influence on the priority of identifying key investment area for the renewable energy sector in the arctic region.