Tuesday, 20 February 2018

National plan: where planning meets politics

The Government has attempted to steer future economic development by folding details of its 10-year National Development Plan into a 20-year National Planning Framework. The two documents are uncomfortable bedfellows at times, because of disparate Cabinet decisions rooted in political considerations, but the broad approach and capital expenditure commitments represent positive developments. The framework document set out in dispassionate terms what was needed to accommodate a rapidly growing population while, at the same time, moderating the growth of Dublin in favour of regional cities and more balanced development. It generated a fierce reaction from elected representatives in those areas that would not gain immediately. Changes were made. Ministerial demands and plans for rural development were accommodated.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

Ten key areas set for development over next 20 years

The Government has launched an ambitious plan which details how more than €116 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects over the next 22 years.

Here are some of the key points of the National Development Plan and National Planning Framework:

§  Athlone and Sligo identified as regional centres where economic development should be focused.
§  Letterkenny, Drogheda, and Dundalk to be prioritised as towns that will benefit from cross-border regional development.
§  Ambitious growth targets of 50% set for the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
§  Development in Dublin will be focused within and close to the city.
§  500,000 new homes required up to 2040.
§  New technological university for the southeast.
§  Second runway for Dublin Airport at a cost of €320 million.
§  Regional airports such as Knock and Donegal to get increased investment.
§  Metro-link connecting Swords and Sandyford via Dublin Airport to be delivered by 2027 at cost of €3bn.
§  DART to be extended to run to Drogheda and Maynooth.

Read the full article @ www.rte.ie

Ibec welcomes Project Ireland 2040

Ibec statement on Project Ireland 2040

Ibec, the group which represents Irish business, has today welcomed the announcement of Project Ireland 2040, comprising of the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework.

Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy, said: “The launch of Project Ireland 2040 heralds a new and exciting era for the Irish economy and society. Planning for the future is everyone’s business. We have now clearly moved beyond the economic recovery phase and can look to the next stage of development with real ambition.

“For some time now, Ibec has identified a lack of investment in the economy as a major constraint to progress. The €116bn 10 year investment plan, which will see capital spending exceed 4% of economic output, is visionary and comprehensive. Together with the National Planning Framework it will allow us to plan for a bigger population and for better distribution of economic activity across the regions.

“Our economy relies heavily on the performance of our cities and urban areas. Better functioning, sustainable, and more vibrant towns and cities will drive prosperity right across the country. It is extremely positive to see the clear identification of prioritised urban growth centres across each of the regions.

“Project Ireland 2040 will bring people and places closer together. The investment in major public transport projects, coupled with ambitious new road projects to better connect our regional cities and towns will help address our growing congestion challenges and improve our quality of life.. It is a major commitment to delivering a compact, connected and networked island of Ireland and can help offset some of the challenges of Brexit. It is now essential that all sections of society embrace the opportunity of the plan to ensure that its implementation is as successful as possible.”

Visit Ibec @ http://www.ibec.ie

Construction industry front and centre in National Development Plan

Friday’s announcement of the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan is a potential game-changer for the Irish economy and society. The ambition of both documents is to be lauded. Ireland has, for a decade, neglected infrastructure investment and this investment will see us move from the bottom of the table in the EU.
The strategic approach of embedding the public capital programme within a legislatively backed National Planning Framework up to 2040 may insulate investment from the vagaries of Ireland’s political system. The NPF’s ambition coupled with the significant increase in financial commitment in the capital programme can be a powerful springboard for Ireland’s economy.
Tomorrow, when the dust settles, the work begins.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

Capital spending: Can national plan build a Dublin fit for 2040?

It was perhaps fitting that the idea of moving Dublin Port was thrust back onto the agenda just days before a massive new government investment and planning framework was launched.  An old debate - in reality settled long ago - the fanciful notion to move the country's biggest port by far, to replace it sometime in the distant future with a shining high rise city quarter, re-emerged even as crucial decisions about the city's actual future were being made and were going largely undebated. The new National Planning Framework to 2040 and the accompanying and interlinked National Development Plan 2018-2027 aims to rebalance growth towards the regions and to break what government officials have described as Dublin's "unplanned gravitational pull". The Government initiative as a whole - billed as Project Ireland 2040 - is based on the premise that the country's population will grow by one million people over the next 22 years. It aims to refocus this growth away from the capital and towards other cities and regions.

Read the full article @ The Irish Independent

Engineers Ireland - “Realisation of Project Ireland 2040 will require consensus and institutional reform”

Statement from Engineers Ireland on the National Planning Framework:

§  €116 billion National Development Plan 2018-2027 provides a 10-year pipeline of projects and should “provide confidence for the engineering sector”
§  Single infrastructure authority should be established to ensure the efficient delivery and implementation of strategic infrastructure
§  20-year planning approach “central to enabling prosperity, wellbeing and long-term growth”
§  Country must plan for the concentration of population and jobs growth in city-regions
§  Now, more than ever, “we need to inspire more young people to study engineering”

Engineers Ireland has welcomed the publication by Government of the National Planning Framework (NPF), calling it “a critically important framework for the sustainable development of our country over the next generation.” The organisation also strongly welcomed the joint publication of the €116 billion 10-year National Development Plan (NDP), saying “the alignment of spatial planning and investment is a vital step towards sustainable growth and effective investment.”

Commenting on the announcements, Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland, said: “Spatial planning and infrastructure delivery are important determinants of how we live, work and grow old. Yet planning in Ireland has frequently been inadequate for the country’s needs and based on a short-term and local view. Engineers Ireland has long advocated for planning that is evidence-based, long-term and divorced from the electoral cycle. We therefore welcome the 20-year approach taken in Project Ireland 2040 which will be central to enabling prosperity, wellbeing and long-term growth.”

In relation to the implementation of the NPF and NDP, Ms Spillane welcomed the attention given to institutional reform. “A new National Regeneration and Development Agency will be the centre of expertise in strategic land development, an Infrastructure Projects Steering Group will develop cross-sectoral dialogue on infrastructure, and the Construction Sector Working Group will ensure dialogue between Government and the construction sector.”

However, she said that the Government must go one step further: “Engineers Ireland believes the Government must establish a single infrastructure authority to oversee the implementation of the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan projects across Government departments and State agencies.

“This new authority should bring together the myriad of institutions and policy instruments which are currently involved in infrastructure and the new authority should be placed on a statutory footing. This approach would ensure the integrated and streamlined delivery of priority infrastructure projects. The authority would seek to build cross-party and cross-sectoral consensus, as well as public and media understanding and support.”

President of Engineers Ireland, Dr Kieran Feighan said the organisation strongly supports planning for the concentration of growth in city-regions and other urban areas: “In line with international trends, we must prepare for the majority of population and jobs growth to be focused in urban centres. This will mean putting in place strategic systems of infrastructure to support growth, such as public transport networks, water services and flood defences. The NPF is a critically important framework for the sustainable development of our country over the next generation.”

Dr Kieran Feighan continued: “We must also rebalance national development to ensure more widespread access to the economic recovery and to relieve the mounting pressure on Dublin. We welcome the steps taken towards developing critical mass along the Atlantic Economic Corridor (Waterford, Cork, Limerick/Shannon, Galway, Sligo and Letterkenny/Derry), which can act as a counterbalance to Dublin in terms of attracting population, employment and investment. We are pleased the NDP will channel investment into improving the attractiveness and connectivity of this corridor. At the same time, it is important to recognise the capital city as the national economic driver and it must continue to develop, prosper and compete as an internationally significant city.”

The organisation also welcomed the 10-year pipeline of projects contained in the €116 billion National Development Plan. They said that many of these projects have been identified by expert engineers as vital pieces of infrastructure in Engineers Ireland’s annual State of Ireland reports, including:

§  National Broadband Plan
§  Flood risk management
§  Metro Link, DART expansion and BusConnects
§  M20 Cork to Limerick
§  Airports and ports
§  Renewables and grid interconnection
§  Retrofitting for energy efficiency
§  Water and wastewater treatment and networks
§  The full pipeline of projects, they said, should inspire confidence in the engineering sector in the years ahead.

Dr Kieran Feighan added: “Every objective contained in these plans will require the engineering community to play a significant role. Engineers will be crucial in delivering compact and smart growth, enhanced regional accessibility, high-quality international connectivity, a strong digital economy, transition to a low carbon and resilient society and the sustainable management of water and other resources. Now, more than ever, we need to inspire more young people to study engineering.”

In an effort to demystify the subject of engineering, Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme - funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme Call - encourages primary and post-primary students to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), while promoting engineering as a study and career choice. Engineers Week, Engineers Ireland’s annual festival of engineering, takes place nationwide from 24 February to 2 March 2018.

Read the full article @ www.engineersireland.ie

Monday, 19 February 2018

Development of second-tier cities key to sustainable economic growth

For those of you who haven't read it, this research may help to inform your views on the National Planning Framework.

Policies should aim to rebalance growth by encouraging regional development led by a small number of large urban centres outside Dublin, according to new ESRI research.
If the current pattern of growth continues, it will lead to a further gap in prosperity between Dublin and the rest of the country. In Dublin, it will lead to additional housing demand and increased long-distance commuting.
The research provides projections for regions and counties across Ireland up to the year 2040, examining what will happen if current spatial planning patterns continue, and what would happen in a range of alternative scenarios.
These projections set the context for regional and local development policy including the forthcoming National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Regional Spatial and Economic strategies.

Read the full article @ www.esri.ie