26th November 2020 | Green Gazette

Council update: Green Councillors secure expanded budgets, accessible housing and safe school zones

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As part of their commitment to new active travel and climate action, Fingal County Council has commissioned a consultancy firm to assess all schools in the county for suitability for the School Streets initiative.

The initiative will see the roads outside schools turned into a car-free zones, which will allow pedestrians and cyclists safer access and make the area outside the school more environmentally friendly. The School Streets initiative was introduced in Malahide earlier this year with great success, and Fingal County Council are hoping to replicate this in other schools in the area.

Green Party Cllr Karen Power welcomed the expansion of the scheme to more schools in the area:

This project is a clear indication that Fingal County Council is committed to prioritising the promotion of Active Travel as part of its ongoing commitment to Climate Action and Fingal will be a much safer place for people to walk and cycle to school.

A motion by Green Party Councillor Louise Heavin was passed by Westmeath County Council this week, which ensures new housing developments are accessible for those with disabilities. The motion states that: “In developments of 20 units or above, the development should achieve, where possible, a minimum of 5% of units designed and built to facilitate occupation by persons with a disability without structural changes.”

Cllr Heavin expressed her delight at the “move towards more inclusive developments across our county. I’m really happy that we have this change in our development plan. We are now moving towards a more inclusive society. It is a small step, but it will make a big difference hopefully to some people.”

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council this week voted for an expanded budget for 2021, which will provide funding for road, cycle lane and foot path maintenance, energy efficient streetlighting, community facilities, and the development of biodiversity and heritage initiatives. This budget increase was facilitated by the decision to increase Local Property Tax back to the base rate, providing €7.8m of additional income to the Council.

Green Party Councillor Una Power welcomed the increased budget, stating that it will allow the Council not only to protect existing services, but also allow for innovation.

“The continued improvement of liveable space in our in towns, villages, parks and seashore area, grants to help local business to adapt and thrive, community development, further development of sustainable transport solutions will be of benefit to people living and working here, while local climate action initiatives and biodiversity enhancement will be of benefit to our environment in general. 

“The adoption of this Budget shows that this Council continues to adhere to its values and is ambitious in delivering on its goals of providing forward looking, high quality public service for all.”