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A chance to get on board with Skibbereen’s green recovery

June 8th, 2020 10:30 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Promoting cycling initiatives in Skibbereen: Brian Granaghan, Katie Mann of Cycle Sense, Amber Granaghan and Christopher Granaghan.

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OPPORTUNITIES for a green recovery post Covid-19 are being promoted by Sustainable Skibbereen.

Brian Granaghan, who is the chairman of Sustainable Skibbereen, outlined five proposals that everyone in the town can do to manage waste, improve biodiversity, promote food security, improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and help make the switch to renewable energy.

‘However dire the circumstances of Covid-19,’ Brian said, ‘it has highlighted a few positives, such as the importance of providing greater pedestrian access – room to enjoy our town centre and green spaces – and more space for cyclists.’

Since the lockdown began, he said people can see how the town had been choked with traffic.

Looking to alternatives, Sustainable Skibbereen continues to work with Cycle Sense, which launched a Cycle Bus for children going to school before the lockdown.

The organisation also met with officials from Cork County Council. It even had an input into the design and implementation of the town’s public realm works to allow more civic space in the heart of the town.

In terms of promoting the awareness of food production, and biodiversity, Sustainable Skibbereen has, over the last four years, already carried out a number of projects, including helping Skibbereen Tidy Town with the Apple Town project.

Together, they planted more than 800 apple trees throughout Skibbereen.

According to Brian: ‘This is a fantastic project because it encapsulates the whole philosophy of the Incredible Edible movement that grows food in public spaces.’

At a recent Zoom meeting, some of the 15 members of Sustainable Skibbereen discussed the need to invite more people to join the organisation. Brian said: ‘We want people to get involved, and follow our progress, as well as learn what local businesses are doing to make their operations more environmentally friendly, to reduce waste, and make them more sustainable in the long-term.’

In a bid to tackle food waste – one million tonnes of food are dumped each year in Ireland – Sustainable Skibbereen also has its sights set on developing a community composting project.

Since its plastic awareness day in Abbeystrewry Hall during last year’s Taste of West Cork Food Festival, the group continues to promote the reduction of single-use plastic, particularly when it comes to people doing their weekly shopping. To improve biodiversity in the area, Sustainable Skibbereen is working on a tree planting initiative. Brian confirmed that they have secured €2,000 from Cork County Council’s Community Environment Action Fund for a community woodland project.

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