Ireland is facing unsurpassed losses of wildlife and natural habitats. There has been a massive decline in insect populations recorded since the 1990s. Stark findings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that 85% of protected habitats in Ireland are in poor or inadequate condition, and approximately 50% are declining.
Only 15% are in a favourable condition. In addition to these concerning statistics about the state of Ireland’s natural environment, there are also financial consequences to ignoring the problem. Economists have estimated that Ireland’s biodiversity contributes €2.6 billion to the Irish economy through ecosystem services each year.
Clúid Housing has launched a new guide for builders and developers, the most comprehensive guide of its kind for the building industry in Ireland – the Landscaping and Biodiversity Guide. This guide is intended to inform developers, landscape designers, architects, horticulturists and other relevant stakeholders of the level of commitment and design input Clúid requires to protect and enhance biodiversity in its developments. The guide includes details of the design approach and elements that Clúid sees as an industry gold standard that can enable biodiversity to flourish in its developments.
In line with Clúid’s dedicated Greening Strategy, Building a Sustainable Future Together, this new guide establishes a set of agreed standards to be achieved by those involved in landscape and biodiversity provision for Clúid. Adoption of the recommended design measures should ensure the delivery of quality external spaces that enhances not only peoples’ lives, but local biodiversity too.
“The residential sector can make an important contribution to reducing Ireland’s climate impact. Clúid Housing is committed to implementing meaningful sustainability measures across our organisation; creating sustainable homes and communities for our residents and playing our role in achieving Ireland’s climate action targets,” said Clúid National Sustainability Manager, Susan Vickers.
Ingrid Swan, Clúid’s in-house Landscape Designer, tells us, “Urbanisation is identified as one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss. However, there are opportunities to enhance and protect biodiversity in new developments, while at the same time improving climate resilience and enriching the health and wellbeing of those who live there, by allowing them to connect with nature. Biodiversity is not an ‘added extra’ or an inconvenience, it is something that can add value to a development.”
Minister of State, Malcolm Noonan, commented, “I welcome the launch today of this new Landscaping and Biodiversity Guide. Congratulations to everyone in Clúid Housing, and their colleagues in the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, for leading the sector to protect and enhance biodiversity in future residential developments across Ireland. I hope it can act as a best-practice biodiversity guide for the sector as a whole.”
The Landscaping and Biodiversity Guide is a significant step in the right direction for the industry, towards sustainable living and achieving Ireland’s climate action targets. It is hoped that this guide will have a wider application as a best practice biodiversity guide for any new residential or mixed-use development in the sector as a whole.
Project Manager of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP), Dr Úna FitzPatrick tells us, “Pollinators face great challenges, but together we can change their fate. We are excited to be involved in the development of such a comprehensive guide. Let’s invite nature back into our landscape, from development to farmland, public and private spaces. By making small changes, we protect pollinators for ourselves and future generations.”
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