Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (DLR) County Council, Ireland
Stakeholder engagement in the environmental planning process
Connect the Dots Ireland spent March and April of 2021 working with the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (DLR) County Council to inform their upcoming 2022-2031Trees and Urban Forestry Strategy. The Strategy, to be titled ‘A Climate for Trees: Human Well-being and Nature’, will be based on a simple, practical philosophy: people need trees and trees need people, especially in urban areas. The DLR County Council wants to encourage a shared responsibility for tree care among individuals and communities across the county, which requires a spirit of cooperation, capacity-building, and collaboration. In turn, our engagement strategy focused on in-depth discussion with community members and stakeholders such as businesses and landowners, community groups, internal county staff across multiple departments, and youth. Key surveys and focus groups were centered around the many different values and perceptions of trees, and how a strategy to increase tree cover and maintenance could be implemented and welcomed by community members across the county.
- Stakeholder analysis: An online workshop with the DLR Trees Strategy team to conduct an analysis of the impact and commitment of internal stakeholders in DLR County Council on development and implementation of the strategy; as well as the identification of external stakeholders that have a direct responsibility to sustain green infrastructure; and the mapping of external stakeholders who benefit from trees and the urban forestry in the county.
- Stakeholder survey: A co-designed survey to solicit the opinions and understanding of participants as identified in the stakeholder analysis disseminated and processed prior to the commencement of the focus groups.
- Stakeholder focus groups: A set of five online discussions with stakeholder cohorts predefined and informed by the stakeholder analysis.
- Stakeholder engagement report: An analysis of the process and content of discussions and surveys with a set of conclusions and recommendations.
- In-depth analysis of which internal and external stakeholders can play different roles in the implementation of the Strategy.
- In-depth discussion with participants who are representative of the different stakeholders who should be approached for future collaboration in the implementation of the Strategy.
- Momentum for ongoing discussion and engagement, especially with structures that support young people and networks of community groups.
- Inter-departmental discussions in DLR County Council that build the foundation for future collaboration, protocols, and procedures.