At the end of March 2021, Mayo County Council invited applications from communities within the County to become Mayo’s first Decarbonising Zone. The deadline for submission of applications was 4pm on the 16-April-2021.
In the Louisburgh area, a group was formed with a view to applying for the Killeen / Louisburgh area. Time was short with only three weeks to establish an application committee and to put together our application.
Our original map covered the area from Lecanvey to Bundorragha. Clare Island also planned to apply, and it was agreed that we would amalgamate and so the application group became LKCI-DZ (Louisburgh, Killeen, Clare Island-Decarbonising Zone).
Our mission was to be an environmentally, economically, socially, and culturally sustainable decarbonized Community. This would serve as an integrated model for development and sustainability of Mayo’s rural communities and offshore islands.
To complete the application, we had to document the community track record in the various areas of decarbonising. This part of the process highlighted for me the fantastic work done in the area by community groups, e.g. Community Councils, Community Futures, Tidy Towns Committee, Killeen Heritage Group, Rural Social Scheme and Louisburgh / Killeen SEC (Sustainable Energy Community).
We were able to reference the Biodiversity Plan and the Sustainable Energy Master Plan for the area which was already in place. As well as establishing baseline energy data within our community the Energy Master also gives us a register of opportunities which will guide us in identifying project ideas. Similar SEC and biodiversity documents were in place in Clare Island.
All the schools in the area have been awarded Green flags by Mayo County Council in the areas of waste management, water, energy conservation and biodiversity.
On local food production we referenced the great work being done in our community by the Rural Social Scheme. There is also a farmers Market for local vegetables with two growers in Louisburgh / Killeen. On Clare Island organic farming on Macalla farm and the island community polytunnel, provide access to fresh vegetables. We also added the recent local initiative ‘live on an acre’ which is underway in the community.
On the biodiversity projects in our community we referenced the Community Forest Project in Collacoon and a native woodland project in Mullagh. Within our area we also have the successful pearl mussel project with the involvement of many local farmers who farm in the catchment area of the Bundorragha river.
An important element of any application such as this is that it has community support. We looked to all organisations in our community for support and I am happy to say that we had 32 letters of support from organisations in the community attached to our application. This included support from schools, the church, sporting organisations, farming organisations and all businesses in the area.
We completed our application and got it submitted by the deadline of the 16th of April. Following three weeks of adjudication, the Mulranny Community were announced as the winners of the Mayo Decarbonising Zone. LKCI-DZ came joint third from the ten applications.
Although our application was unsuccessful, we intend to continue with our plans, and we have continued to meet as a group. We are also encouraged by Mayo County Council’s feedback on our application.
At a recent meeting, our application group decided to form sub-groups to work on different projects that fit with our objective of decarbonising. Some of the groups will concentrate on biodiversity and carbon sequestration, a second group will concentrate on energy projects while a third will concentrate on local food production. We feel that by concentrating on specific areas we can achieve more and other projects such as reduction of carbon emissions due to transport will have project teams assigned as projects arise.
We are hopeful that we will get more local people involved in our endeavours. Some local people may have an interest in working on decarbonising projects that they are passionate about whether that be local food production, renewable energy, or biodiversity. We would especially like to see our young people getting involved.
For those interested in joining our project team on retrofitting and renewable energy please contact Jim Campbell at email@example.com
For those interested in joining our project team on biodiversity and carbon sequestration please contact James Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org
For those interested in joining our project team on local food production please contact Ciara at email@example.com