Irish partners organized the 4th RSG meeting on Thursday 21st of May 2020 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm online via Zoom call. The meeting had a policy focus and was attended by key regional and local level policymaker stakeholders. 

The policymaking RSG members were selected having regard to the focus of the meeting. In light of difficulties posed by the Covid 19 crisis in relation to holding a physical meeting these RSG members were identified as being most accessible for attending an online meeting. Following initial contact by email and subsequently by phone the stakeholders were invited to attend the 4th RSG meeting online.  

The main topics discussed included an update on the Delta Lady Project, potential funding/ initiatives for consideration, Good Practice development, questionnaire/survey work and site assessment methodology in Youghal, the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region & Ecosystem Services, and the Cork County Development Plan review process update. 
The main focus of discussion was on regional/local policy updates on incorporation of ecosystem services (ESS) objectives/information, the methodology for site analysis as an academic exercise as part of the project and potential initatives/examples that could be considered going foward. This tied in with the next focus of the project on delivery of local policy change and with the identification of appropriate actions in Phase 1 working towards implementation of the project Action Plan in Phase 2.

Each of the stakeholders provided feedback on the project and policy delivery. The representative from the Southern Regional Assembly expressed the opinion that the methodology to compare the ecosystem services attributes as part of a site assessment process could be used as a model to assist decision making on how to develop an individual site or identify different ESS scenarios that could occur on sites.

The main conclusion points reached from the meeting related to: - continued engagement on policy filter down and delivery at regional and local levels respectively; - working with the stakeholder group members on developing the project Regional Action Plan and specific actions; - further development and investigation of the following:  site survey assessment methodology as an evidence base for inclusion of ecosystem services in policy and site specific development opportunities appraisals; potential relevant projects, initiatives and funding opportunities that overlap with the project objectives.   

The main tasks that the stakeholders have been advised to consider in advance of the next RSG meeting are policy filter down from a regional level, policy delivery at a local level and how their particular area of expertise and/or best practice example feeds into the overall project objectives.

The next meeting is provisionally planned for Q3 2020 with contact to be made with the RSG members in advance of same.

CCC’s representative from the Planning Policy Unit suggested that the project team engage with the County Ecologist and Youghal MDO regarding possible funding opportunities and the potential replication of a pollinator plan in Youghal similar to the recently adopted Midleton Pollinator Plan.