Chapter 9 - Infrastructure and Utilities
The sustainable social and economic growth of Caherconlish is dependent on adequate provision of high quality infrastructure associated with the provision of services for new developments. Key infrastructural provision, undertaken in a plan led manner will support the development of the village and ensure the development of good quality place making, where health and wellbeing is safeguarded, while also protecting the environment. The provision of high quality infrastructure networks and environmental services is fundamental to ensuring the long-term physical, environmental, social and economic development of the village.
Collaborating with national, regional and local bodies is crucial to safeguard the protection of existing water and wastewater infrastructure assets in the village. The responsibility for water service provisions now rests with Irish Water. The Water Services Strategic Plan (WSSP) published in 2015 by Irish Water sets out strategic objectives for the delivery of water services over a 25-year period and a context for investment and implementation plans. At present, there is some capacity in the public water supply and wastewater treatment plant to cater for additional demand created during the lifetime of this LAP.
Caherconlish has a combined water supply which is currently provided from an existing local groundwater source (Caherconlish Spring), to the northeast of the village and a main water supply pumped from Limerick City (Clareville WTP). The Caherconlish waste water plant was upgraded in 2007. The treatment plant is designed for a population equivalent of 2,500.
Policy IU P1: Infrastructure and Utilities - It is policy of the Council to:
Ensure compliance for infrastructure led-growth in accordance with the DHPLG Water Services Guidelines for Planning Authorities.
b) Ensure adequate wastewater infrastructure is available to cater for existing and proposed development, in collaboration with Irish Water, avoiding any deterioration in the quality of receiving waters and ensuring discharge meets the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. This includes the separation of foul and surface water through the provision of sewerage networks.
Objective IU O2 - Water Infrastructure: It is an objective of the Council to:
- Facilitate improvements to the existing water supply system to cater for the needs of an expanding population.
- Ensure that development proposals provide adequate water infrastructure to facilitate proposed developments.
Adequate storm water drainage and retention facilities are necessary to accommodate surface water runoff from existing and proposed developments. Rivers, streams and ditches containing watercourses are important blue green infrastructure corridors and habitats in Caherconlish, providing multi-functional eco-system services, such as land drainage, recreational amenity, and clean/cool air and wildlife corridors. In the past, surface water management has tended to focus on intervention with the use of methods such as piping, culverting and installation of underground attenuation tanks. Using natural solutions to manage surface water can be cost effective and yield results that improve environmental quality. The use of natural drainage systems at surface level through utilisation of existing drains, natural slopes and existing ponds and natural wetland areas should be considered in the first instance. Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution), biodiversity (wildlife and plants) and amenity are collectively referred to as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). SuDS can contribute to surface water retention and a reduction in the potential for flooding by acting as natural drainage.
Objective IU O3: Surface Water Management and SuDS - It is an objective of the Council to:
a) Maintain, improve and enhance the environmental and ecological quality of surface waters and groundwater, including reducing the discharges of pollutants or contaminants to waters in accordance with the Proposed Ireland River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2012-2027 (DHPLG) and associated Programme of Measures.
b) Require all planning applications, to include surface water design calculations to establish the suitability of drainage between the site and the outfall point;
c) Require all new developments to include Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) to control surface water outfall and protect water quality.
d) Require applicants to investigate the potential for the provision of porous surfaces, where car parking and hard landscaping is proposed.
e) Protect the surface water resources of the plan area and in individual planning applications request the provision of sediment and grease traps, and pollution control measures, where deemed necessary.
To comply with the EU Floods Directive and to align with National Guidance ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines’, 2009, the Draft Caherconlish LAP has taken flood risk into consideration when determining land use zoning and objectives. The Draft Plan is also informed by the OPW – the government organisation leading flood risk management and responsible for flood relief investment nationally.
The Council ensures that proper flood risk identification, assessment and avoidance are integrated within the planning system to safeguard the future sustainable development of Caherconlish. The land use zoning of the Draft LAP has been determined by applying the principles of the 2009 Guidelines that: (a) flood risk is avoided where possible; (b) where avoidance is not possible, less vulnerable uses have been substituted for more vulnerable ones, and; (c) risk is mitigated and managed where avoidance and substitution are not possible.
A Stage 1 Flood Risk Assessment has been carried out and is provided in the Environmental Reports that accompany this Draft Plan. OPW CFRAM Study flood risk indicative maps are available for Caherconlish.
Objective IU O4: Flood Risk Management - It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Manage flood risk in accordance with the requirements of “The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities”, DECLG and OPW (2009) and any revisions thereof and consider the potential impacts of climate change in the application of these guidelines.
(b) Require applications in areas at risk of flooding to be supported by a comprehensive flood risk assessment. All flood risk assessments should have regard to ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management’ (DEHLG and OPW, Nov.2009)
c) Ensure that future developments in flood prone areas are generally limited to minor developments in line with the Circular PL 2/2014 and the Flood Risk Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities.
(d) Demonstrate that future development will not result in increased risk of flooding elsewhere, restrict flow paths, where compensatory storage / storm water retention measures shall be provided on site.
Objective IU O5: Flood Risk and Blue Green Infrastructure - It is an objective of the Council to:
Promote integration and delivery of blue green infrastructure in new developments, public realm and community projects as a means of managing flood risk and enhancing the natural environment.
Objective IU O6: Buffer Zone: It is an objective of the Council to:
Provide an appropriate set back from the edge of watercourses to proposed developments to project the integrity of the Groody River and to ensure access infinity for channel clearing, and/or maintenance. Any proposed development shall have cognisance to the contents of the Inland Fisheries Ireland document ‘Planning for Watercourses in Urban Environments’ and in addition allow for access to and maintenance of existing Irish Water Infrastructure such as outfalls or pipelines.
Protect the integrity of the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation site, through the establishment of buffer zones along the river.
Caherconlish is served by the ESB Network and Gas Network and the village is served by overhead 110kV transmission lines. The higher-level spatial plans indicate there is significant potential to use renewable energy to achieve climate change emission reduction targets through electricity and gas networks. With costs actively driven down by innovation in solar, onshore and offshore wind in particular, the renewable industry is increasingly cost competitive.
According to Census 2016 data, 75.5% of households have broadband internet services in Caherconlish. According to the National Broadband Plan 96% of the village is covered by high speed broadband. The focus now on home working requires enhanced broadband connections to allow for the environments that cater for internet-based business, the facilitation of working from home and the creation of smart homes and smart buildings. Public WiFi hotspots are available in Caherconlish as part of the WiFi4EU initiative, National Broadband Ireland and the Vodafone Business Continuity Plan initiative at O’Sullivan’s Centra and Service Station and The Millennium Centre.
Objectives IU O7: Energy Generation: It is an objective of the Council to:
- Support the providers of national gas and electricity grid infrastructure by safeguarding existing infrastructure from encroachment by development that might compromise the efficiency of the networks.
- Facilitate cooperation between utility and service providers to ensure their networks are resilient to the impacts of climate change, both in terms of design and ongoing maintenance.
- Facilitate improvement of telecommunications, broadband, electricity (including renewables) and gas networks infrastructure on an open access basis subject to safety requirements and proper planning and sustainable development
- Seek the undergrounding of all utility cables, where possible.
- Facilitate delivery of E-Charge Points for electric vehicles at suitable locations and in new developments in line with the Limerick Development Plan.
- Promote and encourage the use of renewable energy technologies and sources in existing and proposed developments subject to consideration of environmental, conservation, residential and visual amenity.
- Support the development of Smart Homes and Smart Buildings and facilitate the foundation for Smart Limerick in accordance with the Limerick Digital Strategy 2017 – 2020.
- Support and promote the NZEB standard of building or equivalent for all new developments
The Circular Economy and Ireland’s Waste Management policy is part of the waste hierarchy established by the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, which sets out to prioritise waste prevention, followed by re-use, recycling, recovery and finally disposal into landfill. The Southern Region Waste Management Plan 2015 – 2021 and any subsequent update, is a framework for the prevention and management of wastes in a safe and sustainable manner. The Waste Management Plan provides the framework for the prevention and management of waste in a safe and sustainable manner and includes the promotion of resource efficiency and the concept of the circular economy as one of its strategic objectives. Refuse collection is carried out by a number of private contractors in Caherconlish. The Council supports individual and community circular economy initiatives. This can include reducing resource consumption through sharing, repair and reuse, recycling and consumption avoidance.
Objective IU O8: Waste Management and Circular Economy: It is an objective of the Council to:
- Support the Regional Waste Management Office in implementation of the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy – Closing the Loop, to ensure sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
- Require all commercial and residential development to provide an adequate internal and external space for the correct storage of waste and recyclable materials.