Chapter 10 Key Infrastructure
10 Key Infrastructure
The sustainable social and economic growth of the Southern Environs is dependent on the satisfactory provision of key infrastructure associated with the provision of services for new residential and commercial developments. Key infrastructural provision will support the economic development of the Environs and needs to be undertaken in a plan led manner.
The Southern Environ’s infrastructure must keep pace with modern demands. In this regard, 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 Environs.
Irish Water is responsible for the provision and operation of public water and wastewater services across the country. Limerick City and County Council delivers water services in accordance with a Service Level Agreement. 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. Irish Water and Limerick City & County Council will work jointly to identify the water services required to support planned development in line with national and regional planning policies for inclusion in the Irish Water Capital Investment Plans.
At present, there is capacity in the public water supply and wastewater treatment plant to cater for additional demand created during the lifetime of this LAP.
The Clareville Water Treatment Plant provides water supply to the Environs, which draws water from the River Shannon. The Treatment Plant is operating below its design capacity of 87 million gallons per day.
The Limerick Main Drainage Scheme has the capacity to cater for future population growth. Foul effluent is treated at the Bunlicky wastewater treatment plant, which is operating below its design capacity of 130,000 population equivalents. The River Shannon acts as the receiving waters for this treated wastewater.
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 green infrastructure corridors and habitats in the Southern Environs, 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.
Water quality in Ireland has deteriorated over the past two decades. The objective of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to protect and restore good water quality, which is carried out through the implementation of River Basin Management Plans. The Shannon River and other watercourses in the Southern Environs are located within the Irish River Basin District. The River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 sets out the actions to improve water quality and achieve “good” ecological status in water bodies by 2027. The LAP aims to protect this invaluable resource.
The Southern Environs is served by a high capacity electricity system and gas network. There are overhead 110kV transmission lines and a number of substations located in the Environs.
The RSES indicates that there is significant potential to use renewable energy to achieve climate change emission reduction targets. With costs actively driven down by innovation in solar, onshore and offshore wind in particular, the renewable industry is increasingly cost competitive. Low carbon technologies present an economic opportunity and green technology development is emerging as a major field of innovation and growth. The Council recognises the importance of developing renewable energy resources in the interest of delivering NZEB (Near Zero Energy Buildings) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework as outlined in Chapter 14 Climate Change & Flood Management of this LAP. Regard will also be had to the contents of the Limerick Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024, particularly where reference is made to utilities and infrastructure.
10.4 Smart Tech
As indicated in the Census 2016 data, 71% of households have broadband internet services in the Southern Environs. The fibre broadband network will give significant economic and social advantage to the Southern Environs, as a place to set up internet based businesses, facilitate working from home and the creation of smart homes and smart buildings.
In 2017, Limerick City and County Council adopted the first Limerick Digital Strategy 2017 – 2020 and announced the Council’s ambition to become Ireland’s first digital city. The strategy will support both national and EU digital programmes, the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan and other digital plans and strategies. As part of the Strategy, Smart Homes and Smart Buildings will have high-speed connections to the internet, while sensors and data will be used for a better, more sustainable use of energy and increased use of clean, renewable energy sources and forms of transport.
Limerick City and County Council seeks to comply with European, national and regional policy in relation to control of pollution from air, noise and light and waste management to maintain and improve environmental infrastructure.
With respect to noise given the thresholds set out under the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC), the Limerick Noise Action Plan 2018 – 2023 relates to road traffic noise from major roads only and does not relate to other noise sources such as industrial noise, neighbourhood noise etc. The Action Plan includes potential noise mitigation measures and policy measures to prevent exposure to excessive road noise and to protect quiet areas. The Action Plan should be read in tandem with this LAP.
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 is a framework for the prevention and management of wastes in a safe and sustainable manner.
Refuse collection is carried out by a number of private contractors in the Southern Environs. Recycling facilities are located at the Civic Amenity Centre at Mungret while there are a number of Bring Banks throughout the Environs.
Key Infrastructure: Strategic Policy:
To enable development in line with the capacity of supporting infrastructure and to require the timely provision of infrastructure needed for the sustainable development of lands.
Objectives: It is an Objective of the Council to:
KI O1: Ensure that all proposed developments comply with the policies, objectives and Development Management Standards of the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended) or any replacement thereof.
KI O2: Support and facilitate the implementation of the Irish Water Investment Plans in accordance with the settlement strategy of the RSES and MASP.
KI O3: Ensure compliance with the Core Strategy’s programme for infrastructure led growth in accordance with the DHPLG Water Services Guidelines for Planning Authorities.
KI O4: Facilitate Irish Water in the maintenance, expansion and upgrading of wastewater disposal and water supply infrastructure.
KI O5: Ensure adequate and appropriate wastewater infrastructure is available to cater for existing and proposed development, in collaboration with Irish Water, to avoid any deterioration in the quality of receiving waters and to ensure that discharge meets the requirements of the Water Framework Directive.
KI O6: 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 National River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 (DHPLG) and associated Programme of Measures.
KI O7: Address the issue of disposal of surface water generated by existing development in the area, through improvements to surface water infrastructure, including for example attenuation ponds, the application of sustainable urban drainage techniques or by minimising the amount of hard surfaced areas as the opportunity arises.
KI O8: a) Require all planning applications to include surface water design calculations to establish the suitability of drainage between the site and the outfall point;
b) Require all new developments to include Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) to control surface water outfall and protect water quality.
KI O9: Support the statutory providers of national grid infrastructure by safeguarding existing infrastructure and strategic corridors from encroachment by development that might compromise the operation, maintenance and provision of energy networks.
KI O10: 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.
KI O11: Facilitate, promote and encourage the expansion and improvement of telecommunications, broadband, electricity (including renewables) and gas networks infrastructure on an open access basis subject to safety requirements, proper planning and sustainable development.
KI O12: Work with and 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.
KI O13: Seek the undergrounding of all electricity, telephone and television cables.
KI O14: Facilitate delivery of E-Charge Points for electric vehicles at suitable locations and in new developments.
KI O15: 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.
KI O16: Protect environmental quality in the Southern Environs through the implementation of European, National and Regional policy and legislation relating to air quality, greenhouse gases, climate change, light pollution, noise pollution and waste management.
KI O17: 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.
KI O18: Maintain recycling facilities and secure additional facilities in tandem with new development.