Welsh Government announces EU funds for new climate change collaboration between Wales and Ireland

A pilot project designed to help coastal communities in Wales and Ireland adapt to the impact of climate change has been backed by €1.3 million EU funds.

The 2-year Coastal Communities Adapting Together (CCAT) project will look at the regional implications of climate change, focussing on the coastal communities of Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock in Wales, and Rush and Portrane in North County Dublin, Ireland. It will also look for commercial opportunities for marine energy from the Irish Sea, seeking creative solutions to globally important climate change issues.

As part of the project, local people will be encouraged to observe, interpret and record data about their community and coastal environment, and to take an active role in adapting their communities and businesses. This hyperlocal data will be used to populate a shared ‘participatory map’, linking local factors to the bigger, global picture to reveal patterns and trends relating to issues including population change and economic challenges.

The project has been funded through the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme and will be led by University College Dublin in partnership with Cardiff University, University College Cork, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, Fingal County Council and the Port of Milford Haven. The Ireland-Wales programme is supporting businesses and organisations across both nations to work together in areas including climate change, innovation, cultural heritage and tourism. Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles, who oversees EU funding in Wales, said: “Bringing together top climate change researchers, industry experts and local government from across Wales and Ireland will help us understand the changing environment, and how it impacts on coastal communities on both sides of the Irish Sea. It’s one more practical example of real action we are taking to respond to the Climate Emergency. I’m delighted to see our nations collaborating on this project, helping to address vital climate change priorities.”

Professor Orla Feely, Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact at University College Dublin, said: “I welcome this timely joint project on the effect of climate change on coastal communities. As well as addressing an area of immense importance, the project is a great example of the close and productive research relationship between Ireland and Wales. This relationship has been strengthened by recent visits to University College Dublin by the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, and the Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, UCD graduate, Professor Peter Halligan. We in University College Dublin greatly value our research collaborations with Welsh partners and look forward to building further success together”

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., who has overall policy responsibility for EU Structural Funds in Ireland, said: “Climate change is undoubtedly one of the major issues facing all of us today, however, sometimes the scale of the challenge makes it difficult for individuals and communities to identify ways they can adapt and contribute to innovative solutions”

This project under the Ireland-Wales cross-border programme, by combining academic, business, local government and community expertise from both sides of the Irish Sea, can contribute to our understanding of the impacts and our search for sustainable solutions.