Ireland: The need for green infrastructure on Europe’s ‘Emerald Isle’
Ireland industrialized and urbanized both later and to a lesser extent than many other European countries. It is known for its beautiful green countryside and pastoral villages and is considered to have low pollution levels in terms of water and air quality.
Yet Ireland lost most of its forestland long ago due to the widespread establishment of agriculture. This put stresses on the survival native species, but hedgerows, riverbanks and other ‘green corridors’ still enable vestiges of Ireland’s native ecosystems to survive.
The scale of Ireland’s forests have grown in recent years to cover around 10% of the island, yet most forestland in the country is comprised of non-native species and is home to ecosystems far less diverse than what was originally there.
Government green infrastructure policies have recently been criticized by Ireland’s Sustainable Development Council, Comhar, the Irish word for ‘partnership’. Comhar’s director, Dr. Cathy Maguire, believes the government should take a more proactive approach, marrying quality of life issues with the preservation and nurturing of biodiversity and ecosystems as well as mitigating the effects of climate change, according to an article in the Irish Times.
In a recent report by Comhar entitled ‘Creating Green Infrastructure for Ireland’, Dr. Maguire outlines different ways in which the government should might manage environmental issues alongside economic and cultural needs.
From an article in the Irish Examiner:
Dr Maguire said the infrastructure plan would minimise conflicts between environmental and economic goals such as the eight- year struggle between locals and energy giant Shell over the Corrib gas project in Mayo.
The report should prove useful for property developers interested in building sustainable projects, which are resilient to climate change, according to an article in Silicon Republic.
For more on this topic see the following article in the Irish Times: