Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report of the Draft Tralee – Killarney Hub Area Local Area Plan 2013-2019 and of the related / complementary variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009- 2015 IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE EU HABITATS DIRECTIVE 92/43/EEC

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Executive Summary ___ 3
1.1. Introduction ___ 3
1.2. Stage I Screening ___ 3
1.3. Stage II Appropriate Assessment / Natura Impact Report ___ 4
1.4. Conclusion ___ 4
2.

Introduction to Habitats Directive Assessment and to Stage One Screening ___ 5
2.1. Introduction ___ 5
2.2. The requirement for Habitats Directive Assessment ___ 5
2.3. The purpose of Habitats Directive Assessment ___ 8
2.4. Overview of Habitats Directive Assessment Process in relation to the preparation of the Hub FALAP and related / complimentary variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015 ___ 8
2.5. Introduction to Stage One Screening ___ 10
3. Description of the plan and other plans and projects that, ‘in combination’, have the potential to have significant effects on a European or Natura 2000 site ___ 11
3.1.

Introduction ___ 11
3.2. Description of the Plan ___ 11
3.3. Description of other strategies and plans reviewed to identify potential incombination effects on Natura 2000 Sites ___ 13
3.4. Key elements of the plan, alone or in combination with other projects or plans, that were considered to have the potential for having significant effects on Natura 2000 sites ___ 20
4. Characteristics of the Natura 2000 Sites ___ 21
4.1. Introduction ___ 21
4.2. Identification and consideration of Natura 2000 sites located within or immediately adjoining the plan area in situ and ex situ ___ 21
4.3.

Summary of key issues identified as being of importance in maintaining site integrity ___ 48
4.4. Natura 2000 sites which may be potentially affected by the Plan ___ 50
5. Assessment of the significance of any impacts on Natura 2000 Sites ___ 51
5.1. Introduction ___ 51
5.2. Data sources, consultation, gaps and limitations ___ 51
5.3. Detailed Screening for Potential Effects on Natura 2000 Sites ___ 53
5.4. Detailed screening of the plans key policies and strategies for potential effects on Natura 2000 Sites ___ 74
5.5. Summary and Recommendations from the Detailed Screening for Potential Effects on Natura 2000 Sites ___ 80
6.

Stage II Appropriate Assessment – Natura Impact Report.. ___ 81
6.1. Introduction ___ 81
6.2. Likely significant effects of the Plan of Natura 2000 sites ___ 81
7. Appropriate Assessment Conclusion and Determination Statements ___ 89
7.1. Conclusion ___ 89
7.2. Determination Statements . . 89

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 3 1. Executive Summary 1.1. Introduction For the purposes of this report and assessment the draft Hub Tralee - Killarney Functional Area Local Area Plan and the Related / Complementary Variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015 are taken to be ‘the plan’. There are a considerable number of environmental designations in the vicinity of the plan area and accordingly attention and care were given at the plan formulation stage to ensure that objectives, policies and supporting text were framed so as to ensure that the special interest of these was not undermined.

This report, a Habitats Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report, is an assessment of potential impacts of the plan on Natura 2000 sites, which are nature conservation sites of international importance. 1.2. Stage I Screening Following a detailed and objective screening exercise, which among other things considered potential for cumulative and in combination effects in light of the characteristics and specific environmental conditions of the Natura 2000 sites. The following aspects of the plan were identified at Stage One Screening Stage, as having the potent to have significant effects on Natura 2000 sites and accordingly underwent Stage II Appropriate Assessment / Natura Impact Report.

  • Proposal Plan / Map Location Natura 2000 sites potentially impacted 1. Passive Open Space Amenity Zoning Tralee Environs Between Tralee and Blennerville
  • Tralee Bay Complex SPA (Site Code 004188)
  • Tralee Bay and Magharees Peninsula West Cloghane cSAC (Site Code 002070) 2. Mixed use Zoning Tralee Environs Blennerville
  • Tralee Bay Complex SPA (Site Code 004188)
  • Tralee Bay and Magharees Peninsula West Cloghane cSAC (Site Code 002070)

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report
  • PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 4 2. Business Park, , Mixed Use, Light Industry Zonings Killarney Environs North and East of the Town
  • Killarney National Park, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and River Caragh Catchment SAC (Site Code 000365) 4. N22 Farranfore to Killarney Road Improvement Scheme Indicative Route Various Farranfore – Killarney
  • Killarney National Park, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and River Caragh Catchment SAC (Site Code 000365)
  • Castlemaine Harbour SAC (Site Code 000343)
  • Sheheree (Ardagh) Bog SAC (Site Code SAC 000382) 1.3. Stage II Appropriate Assessment / Natura Impact Report Where potential significant impacts on Natura 2000 sites were identified, mitigation measures were proposed to reduce or eliminate the impact. These recommendations are contained and highlighted in S.6 of this report.

In line with best practice, a hierarchy of mitigation, beginning with avoidance was followed. As part of this, modifications to zoning maps and the addition of objectives, caveats and / or changes to the wording of supporting text were recommended. It is considered that the recommended modifications as outlined in this report are sufficient to ensure that adverse impacts on the integrity of Natura 2000 sites will be avoided. 1.4. Conclusion This report concludes that the plan, either by itself or in combination with other plans and projects, would not adversely impact on the integrity of Natura 2000 sites – provided that the recommended modifications as set out in S.6 of this report are incorporated into the plan.

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 5 2. Introduction to Habitats Directive Assessment and to Stage One Screening 2.1. Introduction Kerry County Council is currently preparing a local area plan for the Tralee – Killarney Hub Functional Areas. The extent of the plan area and the settlement hierarchy within the plan area are shown in Figure 2-1 and Figure 2-2. This local area plan contains an overall strategy for the development of these areas and a review of the settlements within the areas based on this strategy and consistent with that of the current County Development Plan (CDP) for Kerry.

The 2009-2015 Kerry CDP came into effect on the 4th of May 2009. That CDP sets out a strategic spatial framework within which to guide development in the County over the period of the Plan from 2009 – 2015. A Screening report for the County Development Plan concluded that the Plan would not significantly adversely impact on Natura 2000 Sites. The CDP has subsequently been varied a number of times, each of which was subject to Habitats Directive Assessment. This Habitat Directive Assessment forms part of this initial stage of the plan making process. The draft plan and the related / complementary variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015 are being considered at this stage to assess if there is likely to be a significant effect or adverse effect on any Natura 2000 site.

Following the public consultation period, any proposed amendments will be further assessed in order to assess their impacts. The proactive approach allows for the adjustment of the policies and proposals of the Plan (and the related / complementary variation to the County Development Plan) prior to adoption. This approach will ensure that significant adverse impacts on Natura 2000 sites are avoided.

2.2. The requirement for Habitats Directive Assessment The Habitats Directive Assessment (HDA), also known as Appropriate Assessment, is a requirement under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. This Directive indicates the need for plans and projects to be subject to Habitats Directive Assessment if the plan or project is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of a Natura 2000 site, but is likely to have a significant effect either individually or in combination with other plans or projects on Natura 2000 sites. This was reinforced in the ECJ ruling against Ireland in Case 418/04.

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 6 Figure 2-1 The Plan Area* *lands located within the functional areas of Tralee and Killarney Town Councils are not located within this plan area

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 7 Figure 2-2 Settlement Hierarchy in the Plan Area

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 8 2.3. The purpose of Habitats Directive Assessment Principally the purpose of a Habitats Directive Assessment is to identify the possible effects of implementing a plan (or project) on the conservation status of designated Natura 2000 sites within sphere of influence of the plan (or project).

The Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Flora and Fauna – the ‘Habitats Directive’ provides legal protection for habitats and species of European importance. Article 2 of the Habitats Directive requires the maintenance or restoration of habitats and species of interest to the EU in a favourable condition. The Directive was transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, SI 94/1997. Under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive an Appropriate Assessment must be undertaken for any plan or program that is likely to have a significant effect on the conservation objectives of a Natura 2000 site.

Article 6 paragraph 3 states:- Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site’s conservation objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.

In summary, a HDA is an evaluation of the potential impacts of a plan on the conservation objectives of a Natura 2000 site, and the development, where necessary, of mitigation or avoidance measures to preclude negative effects. Principally the purpose of a HDA is to identify the possible effects of implementing a Plan on the conservation status of designated Natura 2000 sites. In a situation where it is not possible to fully demonstrate that adverse effects on the site integrity would occur, options must be explored so that any risk of damaging designated sites is avoided.

  • Plans can only be permitted after having ascertained that there will be no significant adverse effect on the integrity of the sites in question. Components within a plan, such as objectives or proposals, can be adjusted or removed to avoid significant adverse impacts prior to implementation. The plan may also proceed if sufficient mitigation or compensation measures are in place to ensure the overall integrity of Natura 2000 sites. 2.4. Overview of Habitats Directive Assessment Process in relation to the preparation of the Hub FALAP and related / complimentary variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015. In the preparation of this assessment reference has been made to the following documents:-
  • Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects in Ireland – Guidance for Planning Authorities (2009).

European Commissions: Managing Natura 2000 Sites. The provisions of Article 6, of the ‘Habitats’ Directive 92/43/EEC

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report
  • PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 9
  • European Commission: Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites Methodological guidance on the provisions of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC
  • Guidance document on Article 6(4) of 'Habitats Directive' 92/43/EEC
  • Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG) Circular letter SEA 1/08 & NPWS 1/08 dated 15 February, 2008.
  • Department of the Environment (1994). Planning and Policy Guidance: Nature Conservation (PPG9) (HMSO).

The circular mentioned above refers to the recent ruling against Ireland in Case 418/04 EC Commission v Ireland. The ruling relates to Ireland’s transposition and implementation of the Birds Directive 79/409/EEC, as well as its implementation of relevant articles of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. The ruling among other things clarifies that Ireland has not correctly transposed Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC by not providing explicitly for appropriate assessment of land use plans, as opposed to projects (paragraphs 222 to 234 of the ruling).

Accordingly, any draft land use plan (development plans, local area plans, regional planning guidelines, schemes for strategic development zones) or amendment/variation to it proposed under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) must be screened for any potential impact on areas designated as Natura 2000 sites (normally called Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

This screening should be based on any ecological information available to the authority and an adequate description of the plan and its likely environmental impacts. This should take into account any policies that will set the terms for future development. The results of the screening should be recorded and made available to the public. In any case where, following screening, it is found that the draft plan or amendment may have an impact on the conservation objectives of a Natura 2000 site or that such an impact cannot be ruled out, adopting a precautionary approach an appropriate assessment of the plan must be carried out and - in any case where a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) would not otherwise be required, it must also be carried out”.

The provisions of Art. 6(4) of the Habitats Directive apply when the results of the preliminary assessment under Art. 6(3) are negative or uncertain. That is: 1. The plan or project will adversely affect the integrity of the site 2. Doubts remain as to the absence of adverse effects on the integrity of the site linked to the plan or project concerned. The European Commission’s Methodological Guidance recommends a 4 stage approach:- Stage 1 Screening: Determining whether the plan ‘either alone or in combination with other plans or projects’ is likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site.

Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment: Determining whether, in view of the site’s conservation objectives, the plan ‘either alone or in combination with other plans or

Habitat Directive Assessment Natura Impact Report

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 10 projects’ would have an adverse effect (or risk of this) on the integrity of the site. If not, the plan can proceed. Stage 3: Assessment of Alternative Solutions: Where it has not been proven that measures considered will not avoid or mitigate the adverse affect on the Natura 2000 site, then an assessment of the alternatives will be required; and if none are acceptable then stage 4 is required to be considered. Stage 4 Assessment where no Alternative Solutions Exist and where Adverse Impacts Remain This will involve assessment where the Plan is considered to result in adverse impacts on the Natura 2000 site and no alternative solutions remain – the imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) test must be met before authorisation, permission or adoption of the Plan is agreed.

This includes the agreement of compensatory measures.

2.5. Introduction to Stage One Screening The Screening Stage of the report is used to identify whether the Plan, either alone or in combination with other plans or projects, is likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site. This report follows European Commission (2001) guidance which recommends that screening should follow a four step process as outlined below:- Step one: Determine whether the plan is directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site. If it is, then no further assessment is necessary. Step two: Describe the plan and other plans and projects that, ‘in combination’, have the potential to have significant effects on a European site.

Step three: Identify the potential effects on the European site. Step four: Assess the significance of any effects on the European site. As the Hub FALAP and the Kerry County Development Plan are land use plans and are not directly connected with or necessary to the management of any Natura 2000 site, this assessment will proceed to step two of the process. The results and recommendations of the Stage One Screening Process are outlined in Section 4 of this report.

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 11 3. Description of the plan and other plans and projects that, ‘in combination’, have the potential to have significant effects on a European or Natura 2000 site 3.1.

Introduction This is the second step of the Stage One Screening process and provides a description of the plan and other plans and projects that, ‘in combination’, have the potential to have significant effects on a European or Natura 2000 site 3.2. Description of the Plan For the purposes of this HDA, the ‘plan’ is taken to be the proposed Draft Tralee – Killarney Hub Functional Area Local Area Plan 2013-2019 in addition to the related / complementary variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015. The Planning and Development Act (2000-2010) (as amended) requires a Planning Authority to make/review a local area plan for a specific area every six years.

It is in this context that the existing plans for the area are being reviewed. The adopted local area plan for the Hub Functional Area will then be the new statutory plan for the area. The Functional Area Local Area Plan sets out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the functional area. The plan addresses a range of development pressures and needs that are facing the area during the plan period and beyond. In doing so, it sets out objectives to guide planning decisions and the activities of the Planning Authority over the period 2013-2019.

The Local Area Plan sits within a hierarchy of other adopted plans and national policy framework which include the National Spatial Strategy (NSS); National Development Plan (NDP); Regional Waste Management Plan 2004-2020; the South Western Regional Planning Guidelines and the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015. The overall aim for the plan is to provide a comprehensive local planning framework for the functional area which clearly sets out the policies and objectives for its development. Taken in conjunction with the Regional Planning Guidelines and the County Development Plan it will complete the planning framework for the area.

The plan will clearly set out the policies and objectives for the development of each settlement and make clear to landowners, developers and agents the vision of the Planning Authority for the area. The local area plan sets out a framework for the sustainable development of the functional area so that growth takes place in a co-ordinated and orderly manner, whilst protecting and preserving the areas intrinsic character, heritage and amenity and making a positive contribution to an improvement in the quality of life.

The Hub FALAP consists of strategy, policies, objectives and land use maps for the functional area. The FALAP comprises of policies and zoning maps for the towns and villages and defined boundaries for each settlement. Lands located outside of the

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 12 settlement boundaries will be zoned for rural general development purposes or as otherwise indicated and defined in the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015. The Plan also contains development management guidelines to ensure that the agreed aims, strategic objectives and policies are complied with from adoption in 2013 until 2019 unless amended.

The plan will last for a period of 6 years from its adoption which is anticipated will be in 2013. The related variation to the County Development Plan will be required in order to give effect to the FALAP and in order to allow for the amendment of the settlement boundaries.

The development strategy promotes the Hub towns of Tralee and Killarney as the main focus for development within the Plan area offering the greatest potential for economic, social and cultural development. Within the FALAP, these are supported by the towns of Milltown, Castlemaine, Ballyheigue and Farranfore and the villages of Abbeydorney, Ardfert , Causeway, Fenit, Kilflynn, Lixnaw, The Spa, Beaufort, Boolteens, Camp, Firies, Fossa, Barraduff and Kilcummin. In relation to the settlements, it is the generally the strategy of the FALAP to ensure that they retain their current level of service provision and develop as attractive settlements while maintaining their existing character and to facilitate focused infrastructural provision / upgrading, where appropriate and in a sustainable manner, in order to consolidate their role.

The following are the stated overall objectives of the Plan Objective OVERALL OBJECTIVES It is an objective of the council to; OO-1 Provide an improved quality of life for all citizens of the plan area by promoting the areas economic potential, protect its natural and built environment and safeguarding its cultural heritage. OO-2 Provide for the development of the area in a manner which is environmentally sustainable and protects its social, cultural, environmental and economic assets for future generations.

OO-3 Provide for balanced growth throughout the area by promoting the strengthening of rural communities and providing the infrastructure to facilitate job creation and diversification in these areas in an environmentally sustainable manner at appropriate locations.

Promote and foster local entrepreneurial activity and encouraging innovative and sustainable economic activity. OO-4 Strengthen the town and villages throughout the area, improve the infrastructure provided, sustainably develop the critical mass necessary to maintain and expand the service provision within them, and make them more attractive places in which to live while protecting features of biodiversity and cultural importance.

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 13 The related / complementary variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009 – 2015 The reason for the related variation to the Kerry County Development Plan 2009 – 2015 is to incorporate the provisions of the Functional Area Local Area Plan and to amend the zoning of lands within the plan area, including those at and adjacent to the settlements so as to reflect the provisions of the FALAP. The related variation seeks to amend existing zonings within these settlements and the contiguous rural areas. In certain instances, the variation also seeks to amend zonings outside of the settlements.

In addition the variation would give effect to Objective SS 3- 10(a) of the County Development Plan which states:- It is an objective of the Council to ‘Prepare local area plans for each of the functional areas of the County during the lifetime of the plan in accordance with relevant legislation including the Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) Regulations 2004’. The variation will involve the inclusion of a map indicating the extent of the Functional Areas Local Area Plan and indicating the settlements within this plan. The maps which will be included as part of the variation will be included in the County Development Plan indicating the area of the Functional Area Local Area Plan and also the settlements contained within it for which policies, objectives and zoning provisions have been included within the Functional Area Local Area Plan.

As part of the variation maps of the Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015 will be amended to reflect the amendments to rural zoning and the urban zoning of the settlements in accordance with the provisions of the Functional Area Local Area Plan. 3.3. Description of other strategies and plans reviewed to identify potential in-combination effects on Natura 2000 Sites. In this section of the report, other strategies, plans, programmes and projects are described in order to consider the potential for ‘in combination’ effects. ‘In combination’ is taken to refer to the cumulative effect of influences acting on sites from all plans and projects in the context of prevailing environmental conditions.

Underlying environmental trends such as sea level rises, climate change and increased flood risk were also taken into account. Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: UN Convention on Biological Diversity The UN Convention on Biological Diversity was a direct result of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It came into force in 1993, being ratified by Ireland in 1996. Its objective is the conservation of global biodiversity, as well as to ensure equitable access to the world’s genetic resources.

It requires each party to develop strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and that these should be integrated into other national initiatives that may have biodiversity implications. Monitoring programmes and appropriate designations for protected areas must be established, while undesirable alien species which threaten ecosystems should be controlled. In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention committed themselves to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at global, regional and national levels.

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 14 Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: Agenda 21 Agenda 21 was the main outcome of the United Nations’ Conference on Environment and Development that was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. That Conference endorsed the concept of sustainable development, requiring that economic growth must be compatible with the needs of both present and future generations and that environmental protection should form an integral part of the development process. These principles are required to be supported by a precautionary approach, which ensures that an absence of complete scientific certainty is not a justification of postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.

The key role of EIA is stressed in respect of activities that may have a significant affect on the environment. Local Agenda 21 aims to promote sustainable development at local and regional level.

Johannesburg Plan of Implementation This international policy initiative sets out an action plan for the implementation of the activities adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. It covers topics such as poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, managing natural resources, sustainable development and other aspects of the implementation of Agenda 21. Kyoto Protocol The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement made under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was decided in December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.

Its objective is to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a response to climate change. Developed countries, the so-called Annex I states, have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by a collective average of 5% below their 1990 levels. An Annex I country which fails to meet its Kyoto obligation is subject to possible penalties, although the Protocol also makes provision for flexible mechanisms which permit the purchasing of greenhouse gas emission allowances from other states. The National Climate Change Strategy sets out how Ireland is participating in this process.

The European Integrated Maritime Policy and Action Plan (2007) The Integrated Maritime Policy Action Plan from 2007 set out a particularly ambitious work programme. It included new working methods, cross-cutting tools and a wide range of specific actions that aimed to benefit the maritime economy, protect marine environment, strengthen research and innovation, foster development in coastal and outermost regions, address international maritime affairs, and raise the visibility of Europe's maritime dimension.

Sustainable Development – A Strategy for Ireland 1997 The aim outlined for Ireland in our first sustainable development strategy, published in 1997, was "to ensure that economy and society in Ireland can develop to their full potential within a well protected environment, without compromising the quality of that environment and with responsibility towards present and future generations and the wider international community".

The principal goals and polices defined in the 1997 publication Sustainable Development: A Strategy for Ireland continue to inform the development and delivery of policies and programmes in the area of environmental protection and sustainable development. The integration of environmental considerations into other policy areas is a key means of securing balanced development. National Spatial Strategy 2002- 2020 The identification of development corridors is only the initial step in the process of balanced regional development. The success of the spatial strategy in its role of achieving strong and sustainable economic growth is dependent on a number of factors including the development of an area’s Potential, Critical Mass and Linkages.

The NSS, prepared by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is a twenty-year planning framework designed to achieve a better balance of social, economic, and physical development, and population growth between regions. Its focus is on people, on places and on building communities.

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 15 Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: Implementation of the NSS at regional and local level is through the formulation of guidelines, integrated planning frameworks, Development Plans and strategies.

The NSS has identified the important need to support the role of smaller towns, villages and rural areas at the local level. Making Ireland’s Development Sustainable 2002 This document focuses on the link between economic activity and pressures on the environment. Sustainable development emerged as an idea in the late 1980s and led to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. At the Summit, world leaders agreed to implement an action programme for sustainable development called, Agenda 21. The Irish Government published Sustainable Development: A Strategy for Ireland in 1997 which applies Agenda 21 in Irish circumstances.

Making Ireland’s Development Sustainable reviews progress with sustainable development in Ireland since Rio, assesses the challenge we now face and sets out policies and actions to meet that challenge. National Climate Change Strategy, 2007-2012 This National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012 was published in April 2007, develops from the 2000 Climate Change Strategy, and it builds on the commitment to sustainable development set out in Towards 2016 taking into account the review contained in Ireland’s Pathway to Kyoto Compliance (2006). Its purpose is to demonstrate how Ireland is to meet its 2008-2012 Kyoto commitments and to identify further policy measures needed for the period from 2012 and after 2020.

National Development Plan 2007- 2013 The National Development Plan 2007 – 2013 Transforming Ireland — A Better Quality of Life for All is a blueprint for the economic and social development of the Country up until 2013. One of the principal objectives of the plan is to promote balanced regional development. This plan builds on the previous NDP which identified the need for a National Spatial Strategy, in order to promote regional development throughout the country by the identification of a number of development corridors as Gateways and Hubs in individual regions. These development corridors have been designated to act as development growth areas that will be promoted in terms of infrastructure and investment to act as economic drivers for their region.

The five ‘Investment Priorities’ of the plan are Economic Infrastructure; Enterprise, Science and Innovation; Human Capital; Social Infrastructure; and Social Inclusion. Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future For Ireland - The Energy Policy Framework 2007 – 2020 (White Paper) Sub-titled the Energy Policy Framework 2007–2020, this document addresses how Ireland is to respond to international energy supply issues in the context of severe limitations on indigenous fuel supplies. Recognising that 90% of energy is currently imported the White Paper sets down a series of strategic goals. These include actions relating to security of energy supply, of which the development of additional electrical inter-connectors with other European Countries is a particular priority. Other measures include ensuring fuel diversity, the upgrading of the national transmission networks, stimulating hydrocarbon exploration and contingency planning in respect of possible energy supply disruption. The sustainable supply and use of energy is also a theme, with policy proposals to address climate change and energy efficiency. In relation to the use of renewables, a highly ambitious 33% contribution to electricity generation by 2020 is proposed. The main areas within which the strategic goals are framed are:
  • Actions to ensure security of energy supply;
  • Actions to promote the sustainability of energy supply and use;
  • Actions to enhance competitiveness of energy supply; Integrated approach to delivery.
  • PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 16 Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: Grid 25 (Eirgrid 2008) Eirgrid, which is the Transmission System Operator (TSO), has put in place an infrastructure initiative / strategy until 2025 (Grid 25) aimed at facilitating reliable, secure and affordable electricity supplies throughout Ireland. Aims include:-
  • Supporting growth in the regions and ensuring continued reliability and security of supply;
  • Providing high-quality, high voltage bulk power supply for Ireland that will enable the different regions to attract in future industry and boost existing industry;
  • Exploiting Ireland’s natural renewable sources of energy (wind and wave);
  • Reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions by transmitting renewable energy in line with Government policy;
  • Increasing Ireland’s connectivity to the European Grid, allowing for both bulk exports of electricity and imports of electricity when appropriate. Actions for Biodiversity 2011-2016. Irelands National Biodiversity Plan (2011-2016) ‘Actions for Biodiversity 2011-2016’ builds upon the achievements of the previous plan and focuses on actions that were not fully completed and addresses emerging issues. It has been developed in line with the EU and International Biodiversity strategies and policies. The measures Ireland will take are presented as 102 actions under a series of 7 Strategic Objectives. The objectives cover the conservation of biodiversity in the wider countryside and in the marine environment, both within and outside protected areas; the mainstreaming of biodiversity across the decision making process in the State; the strengthening of the knowledge base on biodiversity; increasing public awareness and participation; and Ireland’s contribution to international biodiversity issues, including North South co-ordination on issues of common interest.

National Heritage Plan 2002 The purpose of the National Heritage Plan is to set out a clear and coherent strategy and framework for the protection and enhancement of Ireland’s heritage over the five years from 2002. The goals of the National Heritage Plan are in line with the principles underlying the Government’s Policy Statement on Heritage. The Plan is published with the endorsement of the Government, in fulfilment of a clear commitment in the Government’s Action Programme for the Millennium. The Economic and Social Aspects of Biodiversity – Benefits and Costs of Biodiversity in Ireland The DEHLG document The Economic and Social Aspects of Biodiversity – Benefits and Costs of Bio-diversity in Ireland made significant progress in identifying overall biodiversity patterns across the country and a map was produced indicating biodiversity index value.

Waste Management - Changing Our Ways (1998) Published in 1998, Waste Management - Changing our Ways, sets out a national policy framework for the adoption and implementation by local authorities of their waste management plans. This was the first in a series of comprehensive government policy documents on the management of waste in Ireland. It endorsed the integrated waste management approach, based on the internationally adopted hierarchy of options which places greatest emphasis on waste prevention, followed by minimisation, re-use, recycling, energy recovery and finally, the environmentally sustainable disposal of residual waste.

National Strategy for The National Strategy for Biodegradable Waste was published in April 2006, being an obligation on Ireland under the Landfill Directive. An aim is to set out how the

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 17 Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: Biodegradable Waste three progressive landfill diversion targets of the Directive are to have effect. While significant progress in the development of recycling and waste reclamation initiatives is noted, the continuing national dependency on landfill is described as substantial.

It states that a major increase in recycling and biological treatment capacity is necessary in order to facilitate the EU requirements for the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste away from landfill.

National Hazardous Waste Management Plan The Primary objective of the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan is to prevent the production of hazardous waste and to minimise the effect of hazardous waste on the environment. The secondary objective is to manage hazardous waste in such a manner is to ensure that environmental pollution is minimised and not transferred from one medium to another; in other words to bring about a qualitative reduction in the quantity of hazardous waste requiring management. OPW Guidelines on Flood Risk 2005 The OPW provide guidance on Planning Policy in relation to flooding.

The policy which the Planning Authority should adopt is ‘Development should not itself be subject to an inappropriate risk of flooding nor should it cause or exacerbate such a risk at other locations’.

The Planning System and Flood Risk Management (DEHLG 2009) These guidelines require the planning system at national, regional and local levels to:
  • Avoid development in areas at risk of flooding by not permitting development in flood risk areas, particularly floodplains, unless where it is fully justified that there are wider sustainability grounds for appropriate development and unless the flood risk can be managed to an acceptable level without increasing flood risk elsewhere and where possible, reducing flood risk overall;
  • Adopt a sequential approach to flood risk management based on avoidance, reduction and then mitigation of flood risk as the overall framework for assessing the location of new development in the development
  • Incorporate flood risk assessment into the process of making decisions on planning applications and planning appeals.

Ensuring that the requirements of EU and national law in relation to the natural environment and nature conservation are complied with at all stages of flood risk management is a core objective of the draft guidelines. Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines (DEHLG 2005) These guidelines set out in detail how the Government’s policies on rural housing are to be implemented by planning authorities in making their development plans and in the operation of the development control system to ensure a vibrant future for all rural areas.

While these guidelines facilitate the sustainable development of one-off houses in the open countryside, they also make it clear that in considering development proposals, including the attachment of planning conditions, planning authorities should only consider approving proposals they are satisfied will not adversely affect the integrity of Natura 2000 designated areas.

Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (DEHLG 2009) This guidance document revises and updates the Residential Density Guidelines for Planning Authorities published in 1999. The guidelines are focused on creating sustainable communities by incorporating the highest design standards and providing a coordinated approach to the delivery of essential infrastructure and services.

Regional Tourism Development Plan 2008-20 Strategic Goals 1. Build on the region’s position as Ireland’s leading tourism destination outside of Dublin, by focusing on innovative developments and marketing while delivering top quality experiences based on the region’s natural and cultural assets and well-

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 18 Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: (Fáilte Ireland South West) established range of leisure and business tourism facilities. Specifically:
  • Deliver high quality nature-based holiday experiences integrating wellness with adventure and related activities ‘Nature and Nurture’, based around established tourism service centres in counties Kerry and Cork
  • Position the City of Cork as a principal gateway to the region and as a major urban destination for business and leisure visitors
  • Exploit the maritime heritage and indigenous strengths of the region’s coastal environs
  • Capitalise on the tourism potential of country pursuits and the cultural and linguistic heritage of the rural areas of Cork and Kerry.

2. Improve transportation links to and within the region Water Framework Directive / River Basin Management Plans These provide for a programme of measures and a river basin management strategy, designed to achieve at least good status for all waters and to maintain high status where it exists. The plan area is located within the South West and Shannon International River Basin Districts. River Basin Management Plans, sub basin management plans and programmes of measures have been developed for each of these River Basin Districts.

Waste Management Plans Kerry, Limerick, Clare Waste Management Plan which covers the period from 2006- 11.

Cork City Council and Cork County Council carried out a joint Waste Management Strategy for Cork in 1995. These Plans detail the amount of waste being generated in the Counties, the progress made since the previous Plans were introduced and how it is proposed to minimize and treat the waste that is produced in the Counties going forward. The concept of Reduction, Re-use and Recycling is fundamental to Regions Waste Management Plans.

Kerry County Development Plan 2009-2015 The County Development Plan sets out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the County. The following are the overall objectives of the Plan. OS 2-1: Provide an improved quality of life for all the citizens of the area by promoting the area’s economic potential, protecting its natural and built environment and safeguarding its cultural heritage. OS 2-2: Provide for the development of the area in a manner which is sustainable and protects its social, cultural, environmental and economic assets for future generations and is compliant with relevant EU and national legislation.

OS 2-3: Provide for balanced growth throughout the area by promoting the strengthening of rural communities and provide the infrastructure to facilitate job creation in these areas.

OS 2-4: Strengthen towns and villages throughout the County, improve the infrastructure provided, develop the critical mass necessary to maintain and expand the service provision within them, and make them more attractive places in which to live. In this plan, the term village is used to describe a close group of contiguous dwellings and services including shops etc. with a defined urban structure. It does not include a grouping of one-off rural housing dispersed over a townland or group of townlands. OS 2-5: Promote the development of the Tralee Killarney Hub as a means of strengthening the economic base of the County and acting as a focus for inward investment.

OS 2-6: Ensure that the existing provisions, including land-use zoning, of the adopted Local Area Plans will remain in force pending their review during the lifetime of this Plan.

PLANNING POLICY UNIT KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL March 2013. 19 Strategy/Plan/ Programme/ Project Overview of Policy Direction: OS 2-7: Provide a high quality of design in private and public development, increasing the quality of the public realm while maintaining the character, form and settlement pattern of the villages. OS 2-8: Provide the infrastructure and support for the development and expansion of employment opportunities, including indigenous knowledge based industries.

OS 2-9: Protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of the County and promote Irish as the living community language.

OS 2-10: Promote renewable energy measures and sustainable settlement patterns in order to promote energy conservation and sustainable communities and travel patterns in the future. OS 2-11: Protect the landscape of the County as an economic asset in addition to its intrinsic beauty and amenity value. OS 2-12: Facilitate where possible, in accordance with proper planning and sustainable development, family members on their own land. OS 2-13: To ensure that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be incorporated into development management and policy formulation in the county. OS 2-14: To protect and promote the natural biodiversity of the County through development management and as a core principle of policy formulation.

OS 2-15: Ensure that all plans and programmes during the lifetime of this plan are screened for the requirements of Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment – The SEA Directive and the associated Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) Regulations, 2004.

OS 2-8: Provide the infrastructure and support for the development and expansion of employment opportunities, including indigenous knowledge based industries. OS 2-9: Protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of the County and promote Irish as the living community language. OS 2-10: Promote renewable energy measures and sustainable settlement patterns in order to promote energy conservation and sustainable communities and travel patterns in the future. OS 2-11: Protect the landscape of the County as an economic asset in addition to its intrinsic beauty and amenity value.

OS 2-12: Facilitate where possible, in accordance with proper planning and sustainable development, family members on their own land.

OS 2-13: To ensure that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be incorporated into development management and policy formulation in the county. OS 2-14: To protect and promote the natural biodiversity of the County through development management and as a core principle of policy formulation. OS 2-15: Ensure that all plans and programmes during the lifetime of this plan are screened for the requirements of Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment – The SEA Directive and the associated Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) Regulations, 2004.

Kerry County Council Heritage and Biodiversity Plan 2008-2012 This document outlines a series of policies aims and actions to deal with education, access, research and management of the county’s heritage and biodiversity assets. Kerry and Limerick Noise Action Plans A number of Noise Action Plans have been prepared by the Local Authorities in the Region to address environmental noise. There plans are prepared as per the requirements of the Environmental Noise Directive. The aim of the Directive and subsequent Regulations is to provide for the implementation of an EC common approach to avoid, prevent or reduce on a prioritised basis the harmful effects, including annoyance, due to exposure to environmental noise.

Environmental noise is unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise emitted by means of transport, road

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