Galway City Council Strategy
Galway City is noted for its beautiful scenery and its picturesque landscape and coastline. Galway, the fastest growing city in Ireland, has a population of 76,000 with the population rising to 296,000 within a 60km radius.
The protection of the environment and the future development of Galway requires a balance between conservation of the natural environment and efficient sustainable use of resources for the city. There has been significant progress in the provision and management of water and drainage infrastructure and in waste management through the years, which have had positive implications for the City. Future developments are constantly put in place to ensure the conservation of the environment, the most important factor.
The Council seeks to maintain and enhance the quality of the city’s environment and eliminate potential environmental risks, while also facilitating sustainable economic and physical development. The protection of the natural and built environment is of major importance to the future social and economic development of the city, as is the delivery of essential infrastructure and services. The areas that the development plan will have particular impact in the protection of environmental quality are:
- Waste Management
- Water Supply and Quality
- Energy and Housing
- Renewable Energy and Energy Supply through a co-ordinating role
- Air and Noise Pollution
- Electromagnetic Radiation
The Waste Management Act 1996 empowers local authorities to jointly make waste management plans for their functional areas. Galway City Council had adopted the Connaught Regional Waste Management Plan (CRWMP), 1999-2002.
This plan proposes an integrated approach to waste management based on reducing dependence on landfill, reducing waste growth, greatly increasing recycling and introducing waste to energy with energy recovery.
The CRWMP aims to achieve the maximum landfill diversion through the implementation of high levels of waste minimisation, recycling and thermal treatment with energy recovery as the best practical environmental option for the region and city.
This approach is based on the E.U. and National Waste Hierarchy which gives priority to reuse and recycling.
Water Supply and Water Quality
In the provision of water services in the city, the Council seeks to ensure that a high standard and quality, well managed water supply is available to both domestic users and to support economic and physical development. In addition, the Council will seek to protect and improve water quality. An essential element of this is the provision of a clean and potable drinking water supply and in particular to Galway, improved bathing water quality. This approach is important in the context of a growing city population coupled with increases in the volume of water usage per head of population. It is recognised that water is a limited resource, the demand for which must be met in a sustainable manner.
In addition to achieving a sustainable water supply, maintaining a high standard of water quality is a key objective of the Council. Galway City is fortunate to have a number of different water bodies, including lakes, rivers, canals and coastal areas; all are significant natural assets to the city. It is critical that these water bodies are protected against pollution and that the quality of water is maintained at acceptable levels. The Mutton Island Wastewater Treatment Plant has significantly improved bathing waters, and improvements in water quality in Galway Bay will advance the achievement of Blue Flag status. In addition as part of the Western River Basin District Project under the EIS Water Framework Directive, a study of the greater Galway Bay will be undertaken.
- Ensure that an adequate water supply is provided in a sustainable manner to meet existing and future demands of the city, in accordance with the assessment of needs as will be identified in the Galway City Water Supply Scheme;
- Achieve and maintain high standards for drinking water and water quality in the city, in compliance with E.U. Directives;
- Minimise and control discharges to inland and coastal waters and seek to improve the quality of bathing waters along the coast;
- Implement the requirements of the E.U. Water Framework Directive with regard to a sustainable approach to water services management by fully internalising the costs of water usage and wastewater generation in respect of the non-domestic sector;
- Encourage all significant water users to use best practices in water conservation.