The Lord Mayor of Dublin this week officially launched the Green Pearse Street campaign. Green Pearse Street comprises a diverse group of local businesses and organisations on and near Pearse Street, one of Dublin’s longest streets, stretching from Ringsend to College Green.
The objective of the new campaign is to ‘green’ the street, improve the air quality, create a health and biodiversity corridor, and more social space for people. The campaign launch coincides with EU Green Week which began over the weekend.
Members of Green Pearse Street include All Human, Bread41, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Cloud Picker Coffee, Dublin Chamber, Grant Thornton, The Podcast Studios, Henry J Lyons, Honey Truffle, Iput, Jobcare, O’Neills Victorian Pub and Townhouse, Pearse Street Management, PLM Group, St Andrews Resource Centre, The Lombard Pub & Townhouse Accommodation, Trinity College Dublin, and William Fry, with more businesses expected to join in the months to come.
Green Pearse Street surveyed over 750 respondents to generate insights. 96% of those approached on the street identified a need for change (of some variety, ranging from small to larger scale). Only 6% rated the current street layout as very good or excellent, with 24% rating it as poor. Popular recommendations on changes to the street include addition of more greenery (91%) more social spaces (benches and tables) (77%), and a safe cycle lane (64%).
As one of the main arteries in the city, Pearse Street regularly records elevated levels of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO²) and particulate matter (PM 2.5). According to EU research air pollution is the largest environmental health risk in Europe, causing chronic illness and premature deaths, particularly in urban areas.
Working in two parallel streams, the Green Pearse Street campaign includes action at individual organisation level, and on the collective level to create street-wide change for businesses, local communities, tourists, and other street users. Coordinated work by businesses along the street has already commenced with measures including planters at ground and roof/balcony level to provide food for pollinating insects; the construction of living walls/green roofs; the installation of bird boxes/feeders to provide space for nesting and foraging; and a programme of local community engagement.
In the longer-term, the group will campaign for the optimisation of this significant streetscape to make greater provision for Dubliners and visitors to the city to stop and enjoy the surroundings.
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy said: “I am delighted to launch this exciting initiative bringing together local businesses and communities on Pearse Street. This street is more than a traffic thoroughfare. It’s a home, it’s a community, it’s a place where people study, work and meet others.
“The benefits of greening have been demonstrated in other jurisdictions, and include space for urban wildlife to flourish, reductions in air pollution, physical health benefits from increased active travel, and enhanced mental health because of greater connectivity amongst street users. This campaign is an opportunity for the businesses and local organisations of Pearse Street to contribute to making the street a vibrant, welcoming, and exciting space for people to enjoy, and I look forward to following its progress.”
Susan Rossney, Sustainability Officer, Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “Reimaging Pearse Street is at the heart of this campaign. Trees and planters, repair works to the street surface, street furniture, seating near bus stops, space for active travel (walking, cycling) and for people with disabilities will transform our street. A greener street would also enhance the experience of street users, by introducing space for eating and drinking, street art such as sculptures and murals, and starting to signpost and further open up the cultural and historical gems dotted right along the street and waiting to be explored.
“More than ever, businesses need to satisfy the ESG requirements of stakeholders, like investors, regulators, consumers, clients, and staff, but it can be hard to know where to start. By banding together, the Green Pearse Street partners can share advice on organisation-level activities, but also build a strong collective voice to campaign for the Pearse Street they want in the future. It’s a way of taking action under the environmental and social ‘pillars’ of ESG, on which many businesses will soon need to report.”