Tidy Towns Regional Seminar_3

Responsible Dog Ownership – Speaker, Sean O’Laoide (Westmeath County Veterinary Officer)
The Law – 1986 Control of Dogs Act provides for dog owners to licence their dogs and to keep their dogs under effectual control.
– Keep your dog on a lead – bring a plastic bag with you
– Barking
– Dangerous Dogs
Limitation of the act – there is no definition of effectual control.
Dog fouling comes under Section 22 of the Litter Control Act.
Stray Dogs – much less than formerly, greater numbers are being surrendered for rehoming.
Key Actions:
– Make children aware of responsibilities
– Create awareness
– Motivation
– Action
Bring Lead, Bring Bag – Any Bag, Any Bin
Green Dog Walker is a local authority initiative:
– They will supply yellow vests with the logo “leave only pawprints”, bags
– Encourage others
Heritage and Conservation – Speaker, Dr. Loreto Guinan (Heritage Officer County Meath)
Heritage defines our sense of identity, creates a sense of place and re-inforces the character of our towns, villages and rural landscape.
Celebrate your Local Heritage:
– gather as much information as possible
– understand the heritage significance and value of the site
– is it protected under SAC, SPA etc.?
– plan work cautiously, minimal intervention
– seek specialist advice
– scope and phase the work over a period of time
– harness skills
– have a management or maintenance plan and apply it.
– secure funding
– the Heritage Council (Bats) www.heritagecouncil.ie
Better Links, Stronger Communities – Speaker, Ann Marie Kelly  (Environment Awareness Officer, Laois County Council)
Encourage use of sociial media as well as traditional media
Use your local County Councillors, they will liaise with and prod the County Council
Consider entering Entente Floral http://www.entente-florale.eu/2019-participants/
Department of Rural and Community Development https://drcd.gov.ie/header2/tidy-towns/

Tidy Towns Regional Seminar_2

Streetscapes and Derelict Sites – Speaker, Billy Houlihan (Retired Cork County Architect and Tidy Towns Adjudicator)
Look at the buildings in our town – take before and after photos of renovations/re-building
* A valuable resource are third level students who could undertake a study of our town as a project.
Keep all buildings freshly painted, it helps keep people’s spirits up and spurs neighbours to paint theirs as well.
Remove overhead cables.
Back areas – use for pedestrian areas, use for artesian/food market, use overhead awnings for weather protection.
Recycling area – not just clean but is an ideal area to display upcycled materials e.g. pallets, skips which can be used to make seating or flower areas.
Listowel, National Tidy Towns Overall Winner 2018 – Speaker, Jimmy Moloney (Listowel Tidy Towns member and Councillor in Kerry Co. Council )
Last year’s win has given an immeasurable boost to local businesses and not just to hotel/cafes
* The Tidy Towns year starts in September as soon as the reports are available and  start to put into action what you want to achieve
– * Look at problems raised in report and what has been done so far about them
– Include 3 year plan
– It is very important to show how we include different groups e.g. County Council and different community groups
– Map of the town is very important to show to adjudicator
– * bring your whole community with you by involving different groups so that they will be proud of their town.  Give different groups a job to do (schools/sporting groups etc.) appropriate to age
– Streetscapes – painting, do in May, better than in September.  Use the report to shame owners into action
– Vacant buildings – work with owners and show this in the plan even if nothing is done
– Invasive Species – map and contain it
– Sustainability – do survey among businesses
– Litter Control – less bins – Litter attracts Litter!
– Cigarette butts – put up posters in pubs and at pub entrances
– Dog Fouling – create awareness
– Approach Roads – these give important first impressions
Smart Solar, Smart Buildings and Hospitality – Speaker, Pat Smyth (ofLocal Power Ltd., Dunboyne, Co. Meath)
The climate change debate – who do we believe? David Attenborough or Donald Trump?  The scientific research world wide overwhemingly confirms that climate change has begun and is increasingly impacting on our lives and our futures.
Pat described how his business supplied smart technology controls and devices at the Knightsbrook Hotel leading to substantial reductions in costs while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere for guests and employees.
– Lighting was changed to LED
– Smart Technology now controls heating/ventilation/lighting
– Heat exchangers and heat pumps reduce heating costs
– Solar panels and batteries reduce electricity demand from the grid
Climate Change – Speaker, Gavin Harte (Sustainable Development Consultant, Carbon Coach and Environmental Activist)
Education for Sustainable Development www.esdtraining.net
Build alliances – broaden out your group

Green schools – Pedal Energy events. They offer CO2 neutral events that people remember. At its core is a six bicycle, people powered, electricity generator that delivers real-time energy where the audience power their own experience.

Sustainable energy communities
Highlight 1 key initiative in our plan

Tidy Towns Regional Seminar

This event was held in Trim on the 2nd February – The conference was jointly organised by the Environment Departments of Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Kildare, Laois, Longford, Meath, Westmeath and South Dublin County Councils. 440 delegates from across the region joined MC Hector O h’Eochagain and expert speakers for presentations and discussion on a broad range of topics of interest to all Tidy Towns Groups.

John Cahill and his wife Margaret attended on behalf of Edgeworthstown Tidy Towns. Below are some notes John compiled from the various speakers. As there are a lot of these I will spread them over a few posts.

Catching the Eye of the Adjudicator – Speaker, Sharon Eastwood (Tidy Towns Adjudicator and director of Woodrow Environmental Consultants)
Read the questions – they change from year to year.
List new projects completed. List projects in planning. Give statistics.
Set out our long term plan (long term planning attracts funding).
List training/workshops attended.
Who do we work with?  Do we have Street Captains, Estate Wardens?
What methods of publicity do we use?  Give examples/links.
The adjudicator will look for appropriate colours on buildings, wildlife friendly flowers, awareness and management of heritage features, good shopfronts (including use of Irish and old scripts), too many external signs and window stickers are a negative.  Signage should be clean and practical.
Other features he/she will look for include sustainable planting.  Use of shrubs, not just annuals.  Native planting and edible hedging.  Bee friendly planting.  Aftercare to include water butts to catch rainwater.
* We are not roadsweepers, Tidy Towns are there to enhance our villages and towns
Any special wildlife?  What wildlife communications did we use?  Use Facebook competitions e.g. first swallow spotted.  Bat/swift walks?  Insect habitats? Management of alien species.
Tidiness/litter – show photos and plan.
Planting for Bio Diversity – Speaker, Billy Flynn (Director Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants Ltd., Tidy Towns Adjudicator and author of our three year plan)
What plants are local?  What is here already?  What is needed?
Join up different areas, create corridors.  What will this area be like in xxx years?
Use roads as corridors, * plant roundabouts with flowers and herbs i.e. no grass, no paving
Plant flowers and fruit.
Manage hedgerows and grass strips.
Think long term, especially with trees.
Think native and local.
Plant for colour.
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management – Speaker, Debbie Nesbitt (Chartered waste manager and chartered environmentalist)
Living better, using less materials/waste, water, energy
Change behaviours, shop local
The EPA’s Sustainable Communities is a funding handbook for community led grants.
Use social media to sing your own praises.
Tip: Print entry form on double sided paper.
Record attendance at meeting/events.  Local newspaper readership?
Encourage local shops, cafes, restaurants to join the Conscious Cup Campaign (https://consciouscup.ie) and only use/accept reusable coffee cups.
Our recycling facility – is it clean?
Encourage upcycling – library of things, consider re-using/repairing/refashioning clothes rather than buying new.
Usefull links:
sdgsforall.ie (Sustainable Development Goals, make Ireland sustainable for all)
National Pollinator Plan – Speaker, Juanita Browne (National Biodiversity Data Centre)
Important in Ireland for
– Economy and wealth (c. €53m in crops, contribution of €1,800 – €2,400 per hectare) and is necessary to grow fruit
– Health and wellbeing
– Wildlife and Landscape (nice to look at)
Most pollination in Ireland is done by bees and also by wind.
Only female bees sting, bumble bees do not sting.
Queen bees are most vulnerable from Early Spring through to Late Autumn and need food throughout this period especially in early Spring when flowers are not yet in full bloom – do not cut or remove dandelions which are a vital source at this time.
Small bee hotels are better than large ones – less chance of spread of disease.
Keep bird feeders clean
Link: www.pollinators.ie for the All Ireland Pollinator Plan
We should promote the reduction/elimination of pesticides
We should promote growing native secies
Plant a clover lawn – no cutting required.
* Remove grass cuttings, do not mulch – the lawn/roadside verge becomes more flowery and less grassy
Keep bramble and ivy.
* Ensure flowers are pollinator friendly – see how to guides

Waste monitoring

This plan sounds like a good idea, a way to try and tackle the illegal dumping that is going on. A way to try and make people pay for their waste disposal





New Xmas Lights

Following a suggestion from Beatrice Patterson, Tom Dooley and PJ Kelly put some lights up on the trees in the Green. Here’s a short video and some photos.


Xmas Greetings

Tidy Towns would like to wish all it’s volunteers, supporters and people of the Parish a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Crib

Thanks to chairman Tom Dooley for getting this wonderful crib made and painted up. It is currently to be seen on Church Street beside St John’s School. Great work Tom.