Galway the first Irish City to win European Green Leaf Award 2017
As part of the Emerald Isle, Galway is no exception in being green. On 22nd June 2016, Galway City was awarded the designation of European Green Leaf 2017.
It is the first Irish city to be awarded this designation. The Irish city was selected over two other strong-performing finalists: Cornellà de Llobregat of Spain and Mikkeli of Finland. The European Green Leaf is a new competition launched by the European Commission aimed at cities and towns, with between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants that recognizes a commitment to better environmental outcomes.
Here are some key area’s to take into account when planning your meeting in Galway:
Walk or take public transport. Galway City is compact enough to tour on foot, and many visitors hire bicycles to assist in getting around. Public buses There are two companies currently running city bus services in Galway City.
City Direct Bus Company from Eyre Square circumvent the city and make trips to nearby communities, City Direct is a private company running frequent (every 15 minute) services in the north of Knocknacarra, and also services in the Salthill / Barna area.
Bus Èireann A state-owned company, and part of the CIÉ group, Bus Éireann run city-bus services in most other areas of the city, and across major towns and cities in Ireland as well as nearby Shannon and Ireland West Airports.
Go Bus and City Link operate direct bus transfers from Galway City to Dublin City and Airport.
Galway has a large taxi fleet that includes drivers using electric cars.
Galway Bikes provide the option to cycle around the city; there are multiple stations across the city to pick up or drop off a bicycle.
Purchasing & Waste
Think Reduce-Reuse-Recycle for event materials and communications.
Keep it digital where you can – electronic invitations, registration, follow ups etc.
Use vegetable based inks, lightest possible weight paper and materials from recycled sources.
Food & Drink
Vegetarian and vegan options are more environmentally friendly and often tend to be cheaper, so make sure to incorporate some meat free options into your menu.
Tap water is a sustainable choice with no transportation or waste packaging. Use glasses and water jugs over single use plastic bottles.
Opt for local, seasonal and organic produce.
Choose ethical, eco and fair trade options.
Select local catering companies that have environmental credentials.
Plan functions to avoid disposable items (cups etc.) and avoid single use portion items (jams, sugars etc.)
Inform caters of the exact number of attendees to avoid waste, and offer half portions for children.
Venue & Accommodation
Stay in close proximity to the event venue.
Choose accommodation providers that have an environmental certification.
Choose an event venue that has an environmental certification.
Ensure that accommodation options are within walking distance to the event or have good public transportation links.
Support the Local Community
Food Cloud will take donations of excess food from events, who will collect the food on site at no extra cost and arrange for distribution to appropriate charities.
More Information: https://food.cloud/how-foodcloud-works/
Have something that could potentially be a raw material for another business (Such as cardboard boxes, wooden pallets etc.)? List it on Smile Exchange to reduce landfill waste and further a circular economy.
More Information: http://www.smileexchange.ie/
Finding accessible places to eat, sleep, and drink or things to do:
Access Earth is a home-grown free accessibility user generated database website that is also available as an android app. There is specific information on accessibility features of restaurants, venues, hotels and tourist attractions:
More details: http://access.earth/index.php
Promoting Universal Access:
Galway City Partnership has a long history of working to make Galway a more accessible city. The company provides a worker to support the work of Access For All – a network of local disability organisations. The focus of this work is on continually improving the
accessibility of the local built environment and involves working closely with Galway City Council and other key stakeholders.
For full details of the work of Access For All and if you wish to report a local access problem please visit the groups’ website at www.access4all.ie and/or Contact Nollaig at 091 773466 or e-mail: [email protected]
City Direct Bus
100% of all buses are low floor buses with one space for a person using a wheelchair. Wheelchairs can be accommodated up to a size of 70cm wide and 120cm long with a maximum weight of 300 kg.
There are wheelchair spaces on each train, but spaces are limited so booking in advance is encouraged. Staff are available to assist, but 24 hours’ notice is required to ensure ramps can be set up at the appropriate stations. More information: http://www.irishrail.ie/travel-information/disabled-access
There are numerous wheelchair friendly taxi companies in Galway. They can be found using https://mobilitymojo.com/or alternatively just searching “wheelchair accessible taxis Galway” on Google.
The Irish Wheelchair Association recommends Carmel Fallon Centre in Clontarf for accessible and supported holidays and breaks to people with disabilities and their families/carers. More information: http://www.iwa.ie/information/locations/item/iwa-location-4
Accessible Transport Service
Galway Centre for Independent Living has five fully accessible minibuses. They can be hired by individuals or groups, for routine journeys or on a one-off basis. The buses are available for journeys within Galway City or County, dependent on viability, and all clients will be picked up at an. Our friendly drivers are all fully trained. We provide a door to door service Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm.
Note: There is a nominal fee the use of the bus to cover actual running costs.
“A person’s quality of life is significantly affected by his or her ability to access the transport network to avail of a choice of modes of transport and to be able to travel easily and with confidence to a chosen destination.” *
One piece of research found that over 40% of people with disabilities reported that they could not use public transport. Of these about 30% of disabled people who could not use public transport said it was because they could not get from their home to the bus stop or access point. Another 30% said it was because they could not physically get on to the bus or train. 25% of people with disabilities who responded to this survey reported having neither access to public transport nor regularly driving a car. **
For those who can neither drive nor use public transport, it is very difficult to get out of the house to go any distance unless given a lift or taking a taxi. This makes it hard to conduct the normal business of life – going to work, shopping, visiting friends. People with disabilities and/or mobility issues find it extremely difficult to access, suitable, affordable transport to be able to assist them in independent living. Lack of access to transport severely restricts independence.
For more details on our accessible transport service please contact the Transport Department of Galway Centre for Independent Living on 091 773910
Carbon Off Setting Programmes
Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out their own carbon footprints. The projects are usually based in developing countries and most commonly are designed to reduce future emissions. This might involve rolling out clean energy technologies or purchasing and ripping up carbon credits from an emissions trading scheme. Other schemes work by soaking up CO2 directly from the air through the planting of trees.
Some people and organisations offset their entire carbon footprint while others aim to neutralise the impact of a specific activity, such as taking a flight. To do this, the holidaymaker or business person visits an offset website, uses the online tools to calculate the emissions of their trip, and then pays the offset company to reduce emissions elsewhere in the world by the same amount – thus making the flight “carbon neutral”.
If you want to make your trip to Galway carbon neutral then check out either of the below programmes.
UN Offset program