Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy for the Southern Region

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2040 Tionscadal Éireann Project Ireland

Rialtas na hÉireann Government of Ireland 2040 Tionscadal Éir Project Ireland

2040 Tionscadal Éireann Project Ireland

Rialtas na hÉireann Government of Ireland 2040 Tionscadal Éir Project Ireland

2040 Tionscadal Éireann Project Ireland

Rialtas na hÉireann Government of Ireland 2040 Tionscadal Éir Project Ireland

2040 Tionscadal Éireann Project Ireland

Rialtas na hÉireann Government of Ireland 2040 Tionscadal Éir Project Ireland

Contents Volume 1

Preface ................................................................................................................................................................. 4

Message from the Cathaoirleach .................................................................................................................. 5

Introduction from the Director. .................................................................................................................... 5

1. INTRODUCTION. ............................................................................................................................................. 6

2. STRATEGIC VISION....................................................................................................................................... 18

3. PEOPLE AND PLACES................................................................................................................................. 30

4. A STRONG ECONOMY – INNOVATIVE AND SMART..................................................................... 98

5. ENVIRONMENT.......................................................................................................................................... 130

6. CONNECTIVITY.......................................................................................................................................... 154

7. QUALITY OF LIFE....................................................................................................................................... 188

8. WATER AND ENERGY UTILITIES........................................................................................................ 208

9. IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND EVALUATION............................................................ 218

Volume 2 - Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans

Introduction to the MASPs.........................................................................................................................226

Cork Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan.................................................................................................. 228

Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan. ...................................................................... 270

Waterford Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan....................................................................................... 308

Volume 3

Appendix 1 Transitional Local Authority Population Projections To 2031 ................................ 347

Appendix 2 SPA Profiles ............................................................................................................................ 348

Appendix 3 MASP Goals............................................................................................................................ 367

Glossary ............................................................................................................................................................372

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Preface Regional Spatial and Economic Planning are married together for the first time in Ireland in the shape of an implementing strategy for the National Planning Framework (NPF). The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region marks this new departure. The RSES provides the framework through which the NPF’s disruptive vision and the related Government policies and objectives will be delivered for the Region. In line with international best practise, the RSES adopts a territorially differentiated and place-based approach to regional planning and economic development. We live in an interdependent, highly connected, modern society, where successful strategy formulation and plan making needs to respond to the needs of citizens, society and the global challenges we face. Planning deliberatively to safeguard our environment and our futures, while keeping to the fore the principle of equality augur’s greater success for us all. In making the RSES, we recognise that effective regional development is about embracing the spatial development opportunities specific to our Region. This requires choices to be made which reflect the differing needs and potential of the Region.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Director’s Introduction

Cathaoirleach’s Message ‘Noman is an island’ rings true down the centuries and is a lyrical expression of the acknowledged interdependency of society. Our community bonds remind us of our human, geographic, and cultural connectedness. It prefigures our want and desire to plan for our future. A future that strives for the betterment of the quality of life for all of our citizens. It is through this constant quest to improve and address disparities, that we as a Region can realise our individual and collective potential. Our ambition is for a humane, fulfilling society, one in which “scientific advance is used to enhance quality of life, rather than to increase production * ”. Irish people traditionally identified with parish and county, characterised by a strong sense of belonging. This consciousness and sense of belonging has informed and shaped the RSES. Connectedness is immeasurably important to any community. It plays a part in safeguarding the health and well-being of citizens. Placemaking is about improving the economic competitiveness, physical infrastructure and social fabric of the Region. We want to tackle the challenges we face, play our part in addressing climate change, strengthen and safeguard our rich rural and urban fabric, to increase the Region’s appeal as a place to live, work, study, invest in, trade with and visit. Ireland is no longer a homogenous society, isolated off the coast of continental Europe, we are globally connected, enriched with a diverse, young and educated population. We live in exciting and fast-moving times. Our unique proposition as a nation, as a Region, is firmly vested in our people and in our collective vision and values.

The National Planning Framework and its regional translation in the RSES is poised to benefit the State and its Regions. It seeks to unlock the latent potential of less developed areas while increasing the competitiveness of the more developed areas. Quality of life for all and safeguarding our environment for future generations is at the heart of its ambition. The Members and Executive of the Southern Assembly are primed and anticipating the opportunity presented to implement the RSES. We have a strong vision for our Region. To realise that vision, we aim to create and nurture the conditions that support our people and our places. We view the strategy as a means to harness the Region’s full potential, for achieving economic prosperity, for improving the quality of life for all our citizens, and as a vehicle to promote the Region as a sustainable, innovative, healthy and green region and ultimately help us to realise our ambition to be the world’s most liveable Region. It also provides a means to address the challenges we face including climate change. The RSES is an ambitious project. It needs to be to keep pace with the accelerated rate of technological, social and economic change. TheAssembly recognises the significant challenges facing our Region and the need for decisive leadership and an effective regional strategy underpinned by strong National policy interventions to address those challenges. We want to secure a sustainable future; therefore, it is imperative we avoid a piecemeal approach to strategy formulation. Critically, spatial planning must be informed by environmental, economic and social needs. The overarching principle of the protection of the environment combined with an impetus to improve social equality, will serve to guide us in our endeavour to copper-fasten and safeguard our future. Mr. David Kelly Director

Níneart go cur le chéile.

Councillor Joe Carroll Cathaoirleach

* Gray, J. (2016) Gray’s Anatomy: Selected Writings, Penguin.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Introduction 1

1.1 | What is the RSES? A Regional Spatial and Economic

Waterford and a regional strategy for our Key Towns, towns, villages and rural areas.

The RSES primarily aims to support the delivery of the programme for change set out in Project Ireland 2040, theNational Planning Framework (NPF) and theNational Development Plan 2018-27 (NDP). As the regional tier of the national planning process, it will ensure coordination between the City and County Development Plans (CCDP) and Local Enterprise and Community Plans (LECP) of the ten local authorities in the Region. While informed by national, EU and international policies, the RSES is driven at the local level by elected members, local authorities, stakeholders, community groups and individual citizens who have shaped this shared strategy.

Strategy for the Southern Region The Southern Region faces an era of great change, challenge and opportunity. Over the next 20 years, our population will grow by nearly 400,000, our age profile and our family structures will be transformed. We face rapid global change, technological developments and the dramatic impact of climate change. We need a new approach to manage our future in a planned productive and sustainable way. This document - the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region (RSES) – is a 12-year strategic regional development framework to guide this change. It establishes a broad framework for the way in which our society, environment, economy and the use of land should evolve. It includes Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans (MASPs) for Cork, Limerick-Shannon and

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


SCOPE The RSES embraces many factors which determine quality of life, including:

• Preserving and protecting the environment, its amenities and landscape qualities; • Transportation, water services, energy and communications networks, and waste management facilities; • Addressing climate change; • Promoting sustainable settlement and transportation strategies in urban and rural areas; and • Enhancing economic performance.

• •

The location of future population growth;

Provision of housing;

• Improving the qualities of cities, towns and rural areas; • Education and lifelong learning; • Creating and sustaining quality jobs; • Supporting rural development; • Identifying priorities for infrastructure investment,

including educational, healthcare, social, community, sporting and cultural facilities;

It should be noted that the RSES is a strategic document and identifies high-level requirements and policies. It does not provide every detail for each matter, nor does it cut across areas that are appropriately the responsibility of local authorities. It does however set out the high level statutory framework to empower each local authority to develop CCDPs, Local Area Plans (LAPs) and LECPs that are coordinated with regional and national objectives. The policies in the RSES are structured under Regional Policy Objectives (RPOs) and Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan (MASP) Policy Objectives’. Transitional Change While the RSES process has a long-term vision to 2040, the specific focus of this document is to 2026 and 2031. The level of change required by the NPF cannot be implemented immediately and it will take several cycles of the RSES process to achieve change to long-term patterns of sustainable development. This first RSES is primarily concerned with setting the course to embed long term change.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES



Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s overarching policy initiative to make Ireland a better country for all, a country that reflects the best of who we are and what we aspire to be. Project Ireland 2040 comprises the NPF to 2040 and the NDP 2 018-27 . The NPF projects that our national populationwill grow by one million in the next 20 years. This will require an enormous shift in thinking to plan how and where people live, work, and travel, and to ensure a more balanced growth away from the overconcentration of population, homes and jobs in the Greater Dublin Area.

National Strategic Outcomes and the Strategic Investment Priorities

The NPF sets the context for the RSES through 10 National Strategic Outcomes (NSO’s):

Compact Growth involves careful management of sustainable growth of compact cities, towns and villages to achieve better residential development across the Southern Region.

Enhanced Regional Accessibility is key to the delivery of the NPF, which aims to enhance accessibility and connectivity between the key urban centres and their Regions. Not all routes have to look east and the need to improve connectivity between Cork, Limerick, Waterford (and Galway) and the Regions is essential.

Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities are a strong part of the identity of the Southern Region. Rural areas play a key role in the Region’s economy, environment and quality of life, which is reflected by the objectives of the Action Plan for Rural Development.

High-Quality International Connectivity is crucial to the Region for overall international competitiveness, in addressing opportunities and challenges from Brexit through to investment in our ports and airports. National Ports Policy and National Aviation Policy, coupled with high-speed broadband are the chief instruments in consolidating and improving on our Region’s international connectivity. Sustainable Mobility is core to Ireland’s Climate Change mitigation plan. A managed transition to electrifying our mobility systems is critical. We need to move away from polluting and carbon intensive transportation systems to technologies such as electric vehicles for public and private transport. In line with the NPF, we need to ensure that our Region will enjoy a cleaner, quieter environment free of combustion engine driven transport systems by 2040.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


A Strong Economy Supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills requires a competitive, innovative and resilient regional enterprise base. We need to foster an enterprise environment which entices people to live and prosper in the Region. To withstand the external shocks that an open economy can be subjected to, resilience and agility must be the watchwords for a sustainable, healthy and thriving regional economy. Enhanced Amenities and Heritage enriches and nurtures our community life. By acting as custodians of our wealth of culture, heritage and the arts, we are safeguarding it for future generations. Increased emphasis on attractive place making will require ease of access to amenities and services supported by integrated transport systems and green modes of movement such as pedestrian and cycling facilities.

Project Ireland 2040 | Building Ireland’s Future | National Planning Fr

National Planning Framework and its National Strategic Outcomes and Priorities of he National Develop ent Plan

1. Compact Growth

2. Enhanced Regional Accessibility

3. Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities

4. Sustainable Mobility

Transition to Sustainable Energy requires harnessing the considerable on-shore and off- shore energy sources and the roll-out of the National Smart Grid Plan. Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030 sets out a vision for transforming Ireland’s fossil fuel-based energy sector into a clean, low carbon system by 2050. Policy interventions that promote renewable energy generation through supports such as the public service obligation levy is an example of a measure taken towards achieving this transition and achieving our climate change commitments. Sustainable Management of Water and other Environmental Resources are critical to our environment and well-being. Conserving and enhancing these resources is important for our future planning, including national water planning, regional waste water management, river basement and flood risk management. Collaboration between national, regional and local public bodies is crucial to ensuring our water and environmental resources are managed properly for the future, including incorporating a circular economic approach. Access to Quality Childcare, Education and Health Services is key to meeting the demands of an increased population, starting with early childhood care and education, investment in schools and third level institutional infrastructure. Education is central to our ambition as a nation and requires careful planning and coordination across national, regional and local public bodies. The future of the Health Service is addressed by Sláintecare, a 10-year plan for health reform which aims to deliver a universal, high-quality, and integrated healthcare system. 6. High-Quality International Connectivity 8. Transition to a Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Society 9. Sustainable Management of Water, Waste and other Env ronmental Resources 7. Enhanced Amenity and Heritage National Strategic Outcomes 10. Access to Quality Childcare, Education and Health Servi es

5. A Strong Economy supported by Ente prise, Innovation and Skills

National Development Plan 2018-27

Strategic Investment Priorities

Housing and Sustainable Urban Development


Current and planned infrastructural investment across the Southern Region will be delivered under the NDP 2018-27. The NDP is aligned to drive the implementation of the NPF over the next 10 years and thereby the RSES. The NDP comprises a €115bn programme to upgrade the State’s infrastructure in anticipation of significant population increase.

National Road Network


Rural Development


Environmentally Sustainable Public Transport


Enterprise, Skills and Innovation Capacity


Airports and Ports


Culture, Heritage and Sport


Climate Action


Water Infrastructure


Education, Health and Childcare



Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development The UN 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for people, the planet and prosperity. The plan sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that integrate the three indivisible dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental. Since 2015, Ireland is a signatory to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and this is heavily reflected throughout the NPF and the RSES. European Green Deal The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. It is about improving the well-being of people, making Europe climate neutral and protecting the natural habitat which will be good for people, the planet and the economy. The aims of the Green Deal are: for Europe to become climate-neutral by 2050; to protect human life, animals and plants by cutting pollution; to help companies become world leaders in clean products and technologies; and to help ensure a just and inclusive transition. City & County Development Plans The ten City and County Development Plans are a key component of the RSES process and will provide the detailed and coordinated plans to guide and shape the development of communities. Local Economic & Community Plans Reflecting the important role of Local Community Development Committees and Public Participation Networks (PPNs), the RSES incorporates the LECPs for each local authority in the Region. The LECPs identify strategic assets, high-level goals, sustainable objectives, priorities and actions at local community level. The NPF, RSES, the CCDP and LECP processes are part of a multi and interrelated tiered approach to the broadening role of Local Government in planning and in economic and community development spheres.

SOURCE | United Nations

Transition to a Circular Economy

Preserving Europe’s natural capital

A zero pollution Europe

The European Green Deal

Farm to Fork

Sustainable Transport

Thetransforation of agriculture and rural areas

Achieving Climate Neutrality

Clean, Reliable and Affordable energy

Towards a modernised and simplified CAP

Leave no one behind (Just Transition)

Financing the transition

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Project Ireland 2040 | Building Ireland’s Future | National Planning Framework

Irish Planning System An Overview


National Planning Framework

EU, National Legislation and Policy

Local Authority

Regional Spatial & Economic Strategies REGIONAL

Housing Strategy

EU Directives

Retail Strategy

Planning Legislation


Local Economic and Community Plans

Development Plans (Including Core Strategy)

Ministerial Guidelines

Local Area Plans

Capital Programme

Government Policy

Capital Programmes

Establishes Policy Context for...

Assessment of and decisions on development proposals

Application to Planning Authority (PA) or An Bord Pleanála (ABP)-Strategic Infrastructure (SI) and Strategic Housing Development (SHD) Planning Applications

PA Decision

SI/SHD Decision

ABP decision to grant/refuse


Development / Refusal of Planning Permission



Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


What Project Ireland 2040 means for the Southern Region The NPF projects that the population of the Region will grow from between 340,000 to 380,000 people by 2040, bringing our population to almost two million and an additional 225,000 people in employment (880,000 in total). The challenge for the RSES is to implement a strategy to ensure that this growth is managed in a sustainable way. No place or community is left behind by the RSES. A dual-track strategy is pursued that builds on the cities, metropolitan areas as significantly scaled engines of growth, and supports a sustainable competitive advantage by repositioning the Region’s strong network of towns, villages and rural areas in an imaginative and smart manner. An innovative approach is taken to securing long-term transformational and rejuvenation-focused city growth through Metropolitan Strategic Area Plans (MASPs) for Cork, Limerick-Shannon and Waterford Metropolitan Areas and the identification of Key Towns. The principles of compact growth and unlocking the potential of centrally located sites will be key deliverables of the MASPs. Developing underutilised land to boost population and economic outputs of city centre areas and our strong network of towns is pursued. In turn the accelerated development of our urban areas will act as economic drivers for the wider Region. Developing their combined strengths will create an effective complement to the economic strength of Dublin. Equally the focus must be on ensuring a balanced approach and realising the much-underutilised potential in rural towns and dispersed communities. There is a key focus on strengthening our smaller towns and villages as well as rural areas. Responding to the challenge of Climate Change is a priority. AresponsiveRegional Transport Strategy (RTS), alongwith the roll-out of thenational high-speedbroadbandprogramme, iskey tosafeguarding the sustainable growth of the Region. Further promotion and development of attractions and capacity to capitalise on latent potential in tourism and local enterprise is essential. Growing the dividend from the Region’s clean renewable energy and tourism potential is clearly identified in the NPF, as is the development of a more integrated network of greenways, blueways and peatways to support diversification of rural and regional economies, thereby promoting more sustainable forms of travel and activity-based recreation. The NPF places an emphasis on consolidating the development of places that grew rapidly in the past decade or so with large scale commuter driven housing development. It has a focus on addressing local community and amenity facility provision through targeted investment. Actions to support significant city, rural town and village and rural rejuvenation include support from the Urban and Rural Regeneration and Development Funds.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


1.3 | REGIONAL PROFILE The Southern Region has an area of 29,590, which represents over 42% of Irish state territory and in 2016, the population was 1,589,906, representing one third of the state’s population. With three of the country’s five cities - Cork, Limerick and Waterford and a network of large towns, the Region has a strong urban structure. It remains largely a rural Regionwith contrasting rural landscapes that range from the Atlantic seaboard to rich productive lands and river valleys.

The Region has nine counties Cork (which includes Cork City Council and Cork County Council), Clare, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford and is administered by 10 local authorities. It is also divided into three sub-regional areas, called Strategic Planning Areas (SPAs) 1 - the Mid-West, South- East and South-West. The Region has a wealth of natural, cultural and heritage assets of national importance and is a significant tourist destination. Natural, cultural and heritage assets include, Gaeltacht areas, Cliffs of Moher, King John’s Castle, Lakes of Killarney, Fota Wildlife Park, Blarney Castle, The Rock of Cashel, Copper Coast Geopark, Waterford Crystal, Kilkenny Castle, Carlow Garden Trail, Hook Lighthouse and the Dunbrody Famine Ship, to name a few.

Map 1.1 | Southern Region

1. The Map of the Region shows the three Strategic Planning Areas (SPAs) – the Mid-West, the South-East and the South-West SPAs. County Tipperary is located within both the Mid-West and South-East SPA. It should be noted that a separate classification of sub regional structures is in place for statistical purposes. This is the NUTS 3 regional level in terms of EU Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) created by Eurostat and used by the CSO. The Mid-West NUTS 3 region includes the entirety of County Tipperary.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Population With one-third of the State’s population (1.6m), the Region is the second most populated Regional Assembly area. All 10 local authority areas have experienced growth at varying levels since 2006. Between 2006 and 2016, the highest rates of population increase were in commuter areas near to Cork and Limerick Cities and in areas close to other larger settlements. Areas associated with the Dublin commuter belt in Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford also saw large population increases. Population decline was also experienced, primarily in rural and peripheral areas, with the largest decreases recorded in areas of Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Cork. Population decline was also evident in areas within Cork, Limerick and Waterford Cities. The overall age structure for the Region mirrors that of the State. Population projections anticipate large increases in the 15-24 year (+26%), 45–64 year (+14%) and 65+year (+56%) age groups between 2016 and 2031. The 0-14 year and 25-44 year age groups are projected to decrease by approximately 14%. This changing age profile will impact how we plan for the Region’s future. Detailed demographic analysis is available in the SRA Socio-Economic Evidence Baseline Report 2018.

Settlement Structure The Region boasts a strong network of urban centres with three cities in each of the three SPA’s and 13 Towns with populations of over 10,000. The Region is further served by 15 towns with populations between 5,000 and 10, 000, and 45 settlements with populations between 1,500 and 5,000 that act as key service centres for their hinterlands. In 2016, the three cities and suburbs accounted for 22% of the Region’s total population. Growth in the cities and suburbs outpaced overall Regional and State level growth from 2011-2016, showing encouraging signs that our cities are strengthening their population base. There is evidence of significant decline in some smaller towns and villages in the Region. Investment and policy support is urgently needed to bolster and consolidate these vital settlements to arrest the decline and the consequent depletion of the physical fabric and provision of services in these areas.

Table 1.1 | Settlement Size

Kilkenny: 26,512

Ennis: 25,276

Carlow: 24,272

Clonmel: 17,140

Carrigaline: 15,770

Limerick City and Suburbs: 94,192

Tralee: 23,691

Killarney: 14,504

Midleton: 12,496

Mallow: 12,459

Cork City and Suburbs: 208,669

Waterford City and Suburbs: 53,504

Wexford: 20,188

Cobh: 12,800

Tramore: 10,381



Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Table 1.2 | Census 2016 population 2,3

Total Population, Census 2016

Total Population

National & Regional Assemblies

State (4,761,865)


Southern RA (1,585,906)


Eastern and Midlands RA (2,328,517)


Northern and Western RA (847,442)


Local Authorities (Southern RA) Strategic Planning Areas (SPA’s)

Mid-West (A) (473,269)


Mid-West (B) (384,998)


South-East (A) (581,615)


South-East (B) (510,333)


South-West (690,575)


Local Authorities (SRA)

Clare (118,817)


Limerick City and County (194,899)


Tipperary (159, 553)


North Tipperary (71,282)


South Tipperary (88,271)


Carlow (56,932)


Kilkenny (99,232)


WaterfordCity and County (116,176)


Wexford (149,722)


Cork City (125,657)


Cork County (417,211)


Kerry (147,707)


0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Table 1.3 | County population change 2006 – 2016 2,3

SRA Population Change, 2006 to 2016

SRA Average (9.9%)

Actual Change

National & Regional Assemblies

State (522,017)


Southern RA (142,910)


Eastern and Midlands RA (303,050)


Northern and Western RA (76,057)


Local Authorities (Southern RA) Strategic Planning Areas (SPA’s)

Mid-West (A) (29,020)


Mid-West (B) (23,970)


South-East (A) (54,754)


South-East (B) (49,495)


South-West (69,445)


Local Authorities (SRA)

Clare (7,867)


Limerick City and County (10,844)


Tipperary (10,309)


North Tipperary (5,259)


South Tipperary (5,050)


Carlow (6,583)


Kilkenny (11,674)


WaterfordCity and County (8,215)


Wexford (17, 973)


Cork City (6,239)


Cork County (55,334)


Kerry (7,872)


0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18%

2. Note the figures for Cork City and County refer to pre boundary extension. 3. Based on the Strategic Planning Areas and NUTS 3 sub-regional classification as defined on page 13, the following configurations apply to the above table: Mid-West (A) refers to Clare, Limerick and All of Tipperary, Mid-West (B) refers to Clare, Limerick and Tipperary North, South-East (A) refers to Waterford, Carlow, Wexford, Kilkenny and All of Tipperary, South-East (B) refers to Waterford, Carlow, Wexford, Kilkenny and Tipperary South

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Economic Activity With employment nearly back to the levels seen before the economic crisis, the Region’s enterprise base is currently well-diversified. In 2016 there were 78,000 4 active enterprises in the Region, both indigenous and foreign-owned companies operating across a wide range of sectors including – agri food, ICT, and Pharma. The headquarters of a wide range of multinational companies are located in the Region, particularly around the main cities. Enterprises supported by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA employ over 138,000 people, contributing nearly 20% to total employment in the Region. There is evidence of strong growth within business and financial services, and a decline in ‘traditional manufacturing’. The Region’s Universities, Institutes of Technologies, Colleges and research centres are an instrumental asset in supporting our innovation potential. In overall terms the Region has a strong basis for future economic development. Environment and Environmental Appraisal The Region has a wealth of environmental assets from Ireland’s highest mountains, dramatic coastlines, and remote rural areas to fertile agricultural landscapes. Our rich urban environment includes a strong and historic network of cities, towns and villages. These have associated flora, fauna, biodiversity and cultural heritage assets, many of which are protected through European and National legislation, including Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Natural Heritage Areas and Proposed Natural Heritage Areas. TheRSES includes environmental assessment documents, on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), an Appropriate Assessment (AA) and also a Strategic Flood Risk Appraisal (SFRA). Feasibility studies will be carried out to support decision making in relation to RSES objectives, including robust site/route selection processes to consider potential effects on the environment and Natura 2000 Network. The RSES is the regional tier within the planning framework, guided at the national level by the NPF, it will be supported by further robust local level planning through CCDP and LECPs. These in turn will be subject to appropriate statutory SEA and AA processes. At the project level, all applications for development consents for projects emanating from any policies that may give rise to likely significant effects on the environment will need to be accompanied by one or more of the following, as relevant:


Environmental Assessment a. Any reference to support for all plans, projects, activities and development in the RSES should be considered to refer to ‘environmentally sustainable development’ that has no adverse effects on the integrity of European sites and no net loss of biodiversity, that shall be subject to appropriate feasibility studies, best practice site/route selection (to consider environmental constraints such as landscape, cultural heritage, the protection of water quality, flood risks and biodiversity as a minimum), environmental assessment including EcIA to support development management and where required, the completion of statutory SEA, EIA and AA processes as appropriate b. The RSES seeks to protect, manage, and through enhanced ecological connectivity, improve the coherence of the Natura 2000 Network in the Southern Region. plans/ programmes (and initiatives arising) is on the basis of appropriate SEA, SFRA, EIA and AA processes being undertaken in order to ensure the avoidance of adverse effects on European Sites and ensure implementation of mitigation measures where required. d. Development Plans shall include an c. RSES support for other objective for the protection of European sites and Natural Heritage Areas (designated and notified proposed NHAs).

• •

Ecological Impact Assessment Report (EcIA);

Environmental Report;

• Environmental Impact Assessment Report - if necessary, under the relevant legislation; • Natura Impact Statement - if necessary, under the relevant legislation.

4. CSO Business Demography by Activity, County, Year and Statistic

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Table 1.4 | Southern Region - Employment in Agency Supported Firms 2000-2018

Employment in Agency Supported Firms 2000 - 2018






























Food & Agriculture

Other Manufacturing & Sub Supply

Other Services Construction & Utilities

ICT & Electrical Manufacturing

Machinery & Equipment

Medical & Dental Instruments & Supplies

IT Services

Computer Programming

Business & Financial Services

2000 2018


Volume 1

Chapter 2 sets out the overarching Strategic Vision for the Region.

Chapter 3 sets out the overall spatial development pattern for the Region, focusing on the strengthening of our cities, towns villages and rural areas.

Chapters 4 to 9 cover topic -based policies and implementation: • Chapter 4 A Strong Economy – Innovative and Smart • Chapter 5 Environment including responding to Climate Change. • Chapter 6 Connectivity • Chapter 7 Quality of Life • Chapter 8 Water and Energy Utilities • Chapter 9 Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation

Volume 2

Volume 2 contains the three MASPs for Cork, Limerick – Shannon and Waterford.

Volume 3

Volume 3 includes appendices including a summary profile of Strategic Planning Areas.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Strategic Vision 2.1 | Setting the Context for our Region’s Vision


The RSES vision for the Southern Region is led by the need for transformative change. By 2040, the population of the Region will most likely grow by 380,000 people to reach almost two million. This growth will require new homes and new jobs. It also raises questions as to where our future population will live and work, what kind of quality of life will we enjoy and how we can adapt to the challenges we face such as climate change, regional disparity and global uncertainty. An unchecked “business as usual” scenario will diminish our quality of life, our environment, erode our competitiveness and compound regional disparity. There is a need for a different approach to planning for the future.

The RSES builds on our strengths and potential to become a more prosperous, sustainable, climate resilient and attractive region for the benefit of all its people. The Region is well-placed to capitalise on this fresh approach. We have a diverse region with significant assets for building sustainable population and economic growth, improved quality of life and place, regional parity, and a sustainable environment. Our society is constantly changing. We are more outward-looking and globally-minded. Our population structure is changing, our households are getting smaller, women are having children later in life, and we are living longer. A considerable portion of our population is international and all of these factors will contribute to the forecasted economic and population growth. We also face significant challenges. The current trajectory toward sprawling, low density growth has been detrimental to many of our places and people. Other challenges include ongoing migration of people, jobs and services to the Greater Dublin Area, continued environmental challenges, disparity between where people live and work, household deprivation in urban and rural areas and exacerbated rural and village decline. Our rural areas face considerable problems supporting employment in the face of declining services.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


The provision of houses and stemming decline in our cities, towns and villages are key priorities of the RSES.

Despite these challenges, we are in a position of strength and long-term trends indicate sustained population growth and economic recovery. In any event, we should plan for a more resilient society and the next 20 years present a window of opportunity to address challanges, broaden our economic base and work towards a more sustainable and prosperous region with a high quality of life enjoyed by all. In order to maximise our potential, strategic choices need to be made to ensure long-term beneficial dividends for the Region.

We need to take account of international risks, including climate change and geopolitical uncertainty, such as Brexit. While advances in technology present significant opportunities, it also can pose threats such as the negative impact of online retail on the fabric of our cities, towns and villages. Resilience and adaptability must be watchwords for our Region to ensure we are agile and responsive to change.

The RSES Vision is to:

• Nurture all our places to realise their full potential; • Protect and enhance our environment; • Successfully combat climate change; • Achieve economic prosperity and improved quality of life for all our citizens; • Accommodate expanded growth and development in suitable locations; and • Make the Southern Region one of Europe’s most creative, innovative, greenest and liveable regions.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


Climate Change Climate Change represents the most serious threat to human life and the environment. If action is not taken on a global scale, global warming will continue to change weather patterns, cause sea levels to rise, threaten the future of entire nations and pose wider risks in terms of degradation of biodiversity, and the planet’s ability to provide adequate food and shelter for the human population. Ireland and the EU are signatories to the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international agreement to restrict global temperature rises to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to limit any increase to 1.5°C to significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. Ireland’s international commitments also extend to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 13, to ‘take action to combat climate change and its impacts.’ These commitments are enacted nationally by the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015 which provides the statutory framework to pursue decarbonisation by 2050.and the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019 to integrate effective climate action measures into national policies, backed by the Climate Action Fund. The Southern Regional Assembly (see Chapter 5) supports the implementation of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019, and the RSES has identified three priority areas for action to address climate

change and to bring about a Transition to a Low Carbon Economy and Society:


Resource Efficiency;

Climate Resilience.

All global risks of climate change are risks to the Southern Region. The Southern Regional Assembly is committed to plays its role to put in place a high-level regional strategy for transition to a low carbon economy and society across all sectors. The RSES prioritises action on climate change across all strategic areas and in all economic sectors. Achieving action on climate change will require a combined effort between all local authorities and their communities, government departments and state agencies to implement objectives for Compact Growth, Sustainable Travel and Placemaking to reduce the travel demand between residential areas and centres of employment and education. The targets for reduction of emissions across different sectors will be further developed, including key targets for 55% movement by sustainable transport modes. This will be supported by a robust implementation of time- bound and measurable objectives on climate action for the Southern Region.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES



with over a third of the State’s total populat ion living here.



Cit ies of nat ional and internat ional significance

Cork, Limerick & Waterford projected as amongst the fastest growing locat ions in the State over the next 20+ years.

over 648k Labour Force

almost a third of the State’s total at work in the Region.

UNESCO Learning Cit ies - Cork & Limerick


3 Smart


Healthy Cit ies

Gateway Cit ies

Product ive agricultural region with good quality farmland and high agricultural yields

All Tier-1 and Tier-2 ports outside of Dublin located in the Region

Universit ies



State Airports

5 Inst itutes of Technology

Regional Airports


Clean Renewable Energy Potent ial

Extensive coastline with significant marine resource potent ial

Strong rural areas supported by a significant network of towns and villages

Diverse Industrial Base with

established clusters and specialisms

All three nat ional tourism areas are present in the Region - Wild Atlant ic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


2.2 | The Strategy A key component of the RSES is to strengthen the settlement structure of the Region and to capitalise on the individual and collective strengths of our three cities, our metropolitan areas, and our strong network of towns, villages and rural communities. Our cities are the pillars on which to base the RSES settlement and economic strategy. They can play a significant role, individually and collectively, to rebalance the disproportionate growth of the Greater Dublin Area. All three are targeted for significant growth by at least half, i.e. by 50-60% to 2040, whereas Dublin has a planned growth of just above the national average (20- 25%) to 2040. Cork is the State’s second city and the largest urban settlement in the Region. With almost a fifth of the State’s population located in the Cork Metropolitan Area, it is larger in scale than the Limerick-Shannon, Galway and Waterford Metropolitan Areas combined. The NPF recognises this, stating that “Cork is emerging as an international centre of scale and is well placed to complement Dublin, but requires significantly accelerated and urban focused growth to more fully achieve this role”. Limerick is the largest urban centre in the Mid-West with notable strategic assets including its location between Cork and Galway on the Atlantic Economic Corridor with excellent connectivity to Dublin, to Shannon International Airport and to the port and energy related facilities of the Shannon estuary. Waterford, the principle urban centre in the south east, is unique in being connected to a network of large and strong urban centres. Both cities are also very important drivers of national growth, are of international significance, arekey regional centres and require significant investment and growth. Each of our three cities has very significant potential individually - however, the combined potential of our cities (together with Galway) is a powerful proposition for regional and national transformation. The emphasis on urban growth in the RSES is driven by wider economic benefits and, for environmental reasons, to make the most efficient use of resources. This requires a focus on compact growth. The RSES also focuses on growth of settlements throughout the Region to improve accessibility, to conserve energy and to maintain the role and character of smaller towns and villages. It is essential

for smaller settlements tomaintain their role and character through public and private investment. Care is needed to match proposed rapid growth with adequate, accessible and timely new services. The RSES also aims to improve the quality of life in our diverse rural communities, valuing them as dynamic, resilient and outward looking areas of potential. A healthy, broad-based economy is essential to resource a high- quality environment and to realise the potential of our Region, both rural and urban. To a significant extent, the success of the RSES can be achieved through businesses and communities already in the Region. Our cities provide a basis for the international economies of scale to compete on a global basis and employment opportunities will be encouraged in and around our cities, towns and rural areas. Safeguarding our environment is an important strand of the RSES, to benefit future generations and to promote quality of life. In the long run, both development and protection of the environment must go hand in hand to safeguard the quality of life in the Region and attract new activities. The RSES welcomes appropriate development to bring about beneficial changes in the way our cities, towns, villages and rural areas relate to each other, the natural environment, and the population they serve. The combined effort of the local authorities and their communities, economic sectors, government and state agencies is needed to achieve action on climate change – to implement objectives for Compact Growth, Sustainable Travel and Place-Making to reduce travel demand between residential areas and centres of employment, education and commerce. The RSES takes a progressive approach to conserving and enhancing the natural and built heritage and the natural resources of wildlife and landscape. Our most valued assets must be protected from overuse and pollution. Equally, it is important to care for the general countryside, coastline and urban environment. A ready supply of development land at appropriate locations throughout the Region will ease the pressure on vulnerable assets while encouraging economic progress. TheRegion’s dispersed settlement patternand its peripheral location in Europe makes it particularly dependent on efficient communications - good rail, road, sea, air and telecommunications links are of the utmost importance. The RSES seeks to enhance public transport and improve communications across the Region.

Our cities are the pillars on which to base the RSES settlement and economic strategy.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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