Chapter 8 - Climate Action, Environment and Heritage
Climate Change and the transition to a low carbon society has become a key consideration of all land use plans. The effects of climate change are quickly becoming the biggest challenge we face today posing a serious threat to quality of life, communities, businesses, the environment and biodiversity. Land use planning is a critical tool to mitigate and adapt to climate change and the protection of our environment.
Figure 8.1: Patrickswell Tidy Towns and Schools Project at Marian Park
Limerick City and County Council has prepared a Climate Change Adaption Strategy 2019-2024, which concentrates on dealing with the effects of climate change, addressing adaption to minimise the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events and greenhouse gas emissions. Through the policies and objectives set out in the NPF and RSES, climate adaptation and mitigation measures are embedded in the plan making process. The Local Area Plan has been prepared with the purpose of integrating and implementing these policies and provisions where relevant. The approach to density, land use, design and movement is consistent with broader measures to address climate change in the areas of sustainable travel, green infrastructure, flood risk adaption and renewable energy sources, amongst others.
There are a number of ways in which a Local Area Plan can seek to reduce the carbon footprints and mitigate against the negative impacts of climate change. These include:
- Promotion of the provision of blue green infrastructure (planting of trees, hedgerows, woodlands, construction of surface water retention features such as ponds, lakes or swales);
- Promotion of climate proofing in the design of buildings and neighbourhoods;
- Promotion of the use of indigenous resources and adoption of new building techniques and designs that minimise energy intensive inputs;
- Seeking to improve energy performance ratings on existing and new buildings. All new homes constructed must reach an energy performance rating in accordance with Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Energy 2019, which gives effect to Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Regulations.
Policy CH P1 - Climate Change Strategic Policy: It is policy of the Council to:
Protect and enhance environmental quality and implement the climate action measures through the planning process to address climate change.
Objective CH O1 - Climate Change: It is an objective of the Council to:
- Ensure climate-proofing measures are incorporated into the design, planning and construction of all developments, including utilities and their networks. The use of green infrastructure as a mechanism for carbon offsetting and surface water management is encouraged.
- Ensure that all residential and commercial developments are designed to take account of the impacts of climate change, including the installation of rainwater harvesting systems, and that energy efficiency and renewable energy measures are incorporated. In the case of large industrial, commercial or newly constructed public buildings, the incorporation of renewable technologies, such as solar energy in the design will be encouraged, subject to compliance with all relevant planning criteria.
- Support and promote climate smart and the NZEB standard of building or equivalent for all new developments.
- Promote and support development of renewable energy sources, which will achieve low carbon outputs and promote Patrickswell as a low carbon area.
- Support the development of low carbon and green technological businesses and industries.
- Promote responsible development and management of land, drainage systems and natural habitats and to encourage development at appropriate locations, which minimise the use of fossil fuels and maximises the use of local or renewable resources.
- Promote the appropriate adaption of built heritage to respond to the effects of climate change.
The NPF recognises the role green blue infrastructure plays in assisting with adaptation and mitigation to climate change, aiding improvements in air quality and water quality, and providing benefits to biodiversity. The Limerick Development Plan’s Landscape Character Assessment sets out various landscape characters that Limerick possesses and its importance in terms of its intrinsic value and beauty, but also in providing for local residents and visitors as a place to live and for recreational and tourism purposes. Patrickswell is located on the boundary between the Agricultural Lowlands and the Shannon Coastal Zone landscape areas as designated by the Development Plan, with locally important wildlife features and habitats. The village also contains a number of open spaces, agricultural land, hedgerows, footpaths and an established cycle route scheme that links Patrickswell to Limerick City, all of which are valuable green infrastructure that enhances the village’s identity and sense of place. The lowland farming landscape is defined by regular field boundaries surrounding the settlement boundary to the East, North and West with a developed hedgerow system. The primary farming activity is pastoral or dairy farming.
Figure 8.2: Tree Line fronting Patrickswell AFC and MUGA Grounds at Lisheen Park
There are also a number of impressive tree groups and freestanding trees that exist particularly to the north side of the R526 at the western side of the Plan area. These are a particular landscape feature which future development patterns shall have regard to. A number of field boundaries within the Plan area, while lacking mature impressive trees, also form an essential part of the natural green infrastructure of the area. There are no nature designations in the village.
Existing trees and hedgerows are important features in supporting biodiversity and should be carefully considered in any planning application. Applications shall seek to retain hedgerows, landscaped areas, retention or planting of trees and preservation of natural features etc. where possible. Suitable planting of new edge or buffer treatments will be encouraged as part of new developments. Other areas of important biodiversity in Limerick can include graveyards and green spaces. The Council will require all new developments, where possible to identify, protect and where appropriate, enhance ecological features by making provision for local biodiversity. These areas will emphasise enhancement of local biodiversity and local surface water management, while enhancing visual amenity. Management of invasive species, prior to and during construction shall be incorporated.
Objective CH O2 - Tree Protection and Nature Conservation: It is an objective of the Council to:
Seek to protect natural stone boundary walls, ponds/wetlands, other natural features of local importance and mature trees where possible. Development that requires the felling or harming of such trees will not generally be permitted, unless supported by a tree survey establishing that the subject trees are of no ecological or amenity value. Such report shall be undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent person.
Objective CH O3 - Lesser Horseshoe Bat: It is an objective of the Council to:
Require all developments in areas where there may be Lesser Horseshoe Bats, to submit an ecological assessment of the effects of the development on the species. The assessment shall include mitigation measures to ensure that feeding, roosting or hibernation sites for the species are maintained. The assessment shall also include measures to ensure that landscape features are retained and that the development itself will not cause a barrier or deterrent effect on the species.
Objective CH O4 – Ecological Impact Assessment: It is an objective of the Council to:
Require all developments where there are species of conservation concern, to submit an ecological assessment of the effects of the development on the site and nearby designated sites, suggesting appropriate mitigation measures and establishing, in particular, the presence or absence of the following species: Otter, badger, bats, lamprey and protected plant species such as the Triangular Club Rush, Opposite Leaved Pond Weed and Flora Protection Order Species generally.
The Barnakyle River, a tributary of the River Maigue, flows from south to north through the village, but is largely inconspicuous. However, it is recognised as a valued natural habitat and has the potential to be an important blue infrastructure amenity that can be capitalised on for the village. It is considered necessary to retain a buffer zone of open space allocated to prevent further degradation of the natural amenity and biodiversity of the Barnakyle River. The designation of the buffer does not preclude amenity use, provided that the walkways and cycleways are constructed sensitively and with minimal impact on the river and the riparian environment.
Objective CH O5 - Designated Sites and Nature Conservation: It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Protect the integrity of the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation site, through the establishment of buffer zones along the Barnakyle River, which flows into the River Maigue.
(b) Ensure that appropriate wastewater infrastructure is available to support new developments to safeguard water quality.
(c) No projects which will be reasonably likely to give rise to significant adverse direct or indirect or secondary impacts on the integrity of any Natura 2000 sites, having regard to their conservation objectives arising from reduction in species diversity, shall be permitted on the basis of this Plan (either individually or in combination with other plans or projects). In terms of general nature conservation, the Council will protect undesignated habitats such as notable trees and hedgerows and ponds/wetlands and other natural features of local importance.
Figure 8.3: Blue Green Infrastructure Benefits (Image curtesy of Limerick City and Environs Blue Green Infrastructure Strategy)
Limerick City and County Council have prepared a Blue Green Infrastructure Strategy, which is used to inform and guide the planning and management of Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI) within Limerick City and Suburbs, Mungret and Annacotty. Nonetheless, many of the GBI principles will be relevant to the remainder of the County, where the strategy’s objectives and priority actions proposed can be adapted to suit Patrickswell and to which can influence any public realm improvements proposed during the lifetime of the Plan.
GBI has far-reaching benefits, including the creation of places, which improve physical and mental health, contribute towards the provision of space for nature, plays a vital role in climate change mitigation and adaptation and many economic benefits. The Draft Local Area Plan for Patrickswell includes a number of policies and objectives that will guide the direction and support the delivery and enhancement of GBI within the village. These ‘Enhancement Opportunities’ are outlined in Table 8.1 and include the associated key cross compatible Climate Action themes.
Figure 8.4: Image curtesy of Limerick City and Environs Blue Green Infrastructure - Climate Change Interlinking and Crosscutting Themes
Objective CH O6 - Blue Green Infrastructure: It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Develop and enhance blue and green infrastructure opportunities throughout Patrickswell in line with the detail set out in Table 8.1 LAP Climate Action Opportunities.
(b) Promote the concept of blue green infrastructure and linked green/open spaces, as a means to mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce flood risk, improve habitat/biodiversity links/corridors and improve watercourse quality, to sustain high quality robust ecosystems.
(c) Promote connecting corridors for the movement of species and encourage the retention and creation of features of biodiversity value, ecological corridors and networks that connect areas of high conservation value such as woodlands, hedgerows, earth banks, watercourses, wetlands and designated sites. In this regard, new infrastructural projects and linear developments in particular, will have to demonstrate at design stage, sufficient measures to assist in the conservation of and dispersal of species.
(d) Where possible, remove barriers to species movement, such as the removal of in-stream barriers to fish passage.
Objective CH O7 - Creation of New Habitats: It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Seek the creation of new habitats by encouraging wild green areas and new water features such as, pools and ponds in new developments.
(b) Encourage management plans for green areas to use the minimum of pesticides and herbicides.
(c) The creation of areas that are not subject to public access in order to promote wildlife use is strongly encouraged.
Objective CH O8 - New Infrastructure Projects: It is an objective of the Council to:
Require new infrastructure and linear developments in particular, to demonstrate at design stage sufficient measures to assist in the conservation of and dispersal of species and to demonstrate a high degree of permeability for wildlife, to allow the movement of species and to prevent the creation of barriers to wildlife and aquatic life in the wider countryside.
The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) was signed into law in October 2000. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) brings an integrated approach to managing water quality on a river basin (catchment) basis, in order to protect and enhance both ecological and chemical quality of rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters.
Figure 8.5: Barnakyle River flowing through the Open Space and Recreation zoned site within the Village Centre
The WFD is implemented through River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) in three six-year cycles. Each cycle providing an opportunity to assess water conditions at different stages and set out actions to achieve water quality objectives. The third cycle runs from 2022-2027. Local Authorities are responsible for the development and implementation of RBMPs at a local level.
Policy CH P2 - Water Framework Directive Policy: It is policy of the Council to:
Implement changes to the management of water bodies, taking account of all aspects of the Water Cycle, in accordance with the Water Framework Directive and the principal objective of the WFD to achieve good status in all waters and to ensure that status does not deteriorate in any waters.
Local natural and built heritage enriches and nurtures community life. As custodians for future generations, the Council seeks to safeguard and protect the natural and built heritage as a priority. In doing so, the Local Area Plan has a significant role in ensuring the conservation and enhancement of Patrickswell’s natural and built heritage and the natural resources of wildlife and landscape. As a settlement develops, the demands on the environment, both natural and manmade, become greater. The role of the Council is to balance the two – preservation of a high quality environment, while satisfying economic and social needs.
8.3.1 Archaeological Heritage
Archaeology is the study of past societies through their material remains and the evidence of their environment. There are 3 Recorded Monuments within the Local Area Plan zoned area and a further 6 monuments located just outside the LAP boundary. The most notable archaeological sites within the core of Patrickswell are the site of the well (RMP LI012-090) which gives the village its name and a very well preserved ringfort (RMP LI012-089). The structures/monuments include the holy well as mentioned, ringfort, burial grounds and a number of additional enclosures. The Local Authority will consult with the Development Applications Unit of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and other Statutory Consultees when considering applications for planning permission for development on, or in the vicinity of archaeological sites and/or monuments. Appendix 3 provides a list of structures in the Sites and Monuments Records for Patrickswell. The location of each archaeological monument is provided in the Record of Monuments and Places, which is maintained and up-dated by the Archaeological Survey of Ireland, a branch of the National Monuments Service.
Figure 8.6: St. Patrick's Well on Main Street RPS No. 1527
Under the provisions of the National Monuments Act Section 12, 1994 Amendment any person proposing any works (this includes exempted pre-63 development) ‘at or in relation to such a monument’ has to give written notification two months in advance to the Minister for the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Sites continue to be discovered, some of those found subsequent to the publication (1997) have been included in the Site and Monuments Database which is available on the website www.archaeology.ie. Under Section 14 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004, proposed development or works within or in the vicinity of archaeological monuments in Local Authority or State ownership or guardianship, may require authorisation in the form of Ministerial Consent to proceed and the National Monuments Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage shall be consulted in this regard in advance of site works
As sites continue to be discovered, some of those found subsequent to the publication in 1997 have been included in the Historic Environment Viewer, which is available on the the Department’s website. There are certain sites in State ownership or guardianship, or have been served with temporary preservation orders. Under the 2004 Amendment to the National Monuments Act, any of these sites or sites deemed National Monuments in the care or guardianship of the Local Authority will require Ministerial Consent for works in their vicinity.
Objective CH O9 - Archaeological Heritage: It is the objective of the Council to:
(a) Seek the preservation (in situ, or at a minimum, preservation by record) of all known sites and features of historical and archaeological interest, including wreck, sites and objects underwater. This is to include all the sites listed in the Record of Monuments and Places as established under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994. In securing such preservation, the Council will have regard to the advice and recommendations of the National Monuments Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the National Museum of Ireland and the Local Authority Archaeologist.
(b) Protect and preserve (in situ, or at a minimum, preservation by record) all sites and features of historical interest discovered subsequent to the publication of the Record of Monuments and Places.
(c) Ensure that any proposed development shall not have a negative impact on the character or setting of an archaeological monument. In assessing proposals for development, the Council will take account of the Archaeological potential of rivers and other waterways.
(d) Ensure that the area of a monument and the associated buffer area shall not be included as part of the open space requirement demanded of a specific development, but should be additional to the required open spaces, and if appropriate, where such a monument lies within a development, a conservation and/or management plan for that monument, shall be submitted as part of the landscape plan for that development.
(e) Protect and preserve the industrial, military, maritime, riverine and post-medieval archaeological heritage of the Plan area. Proposals for refurbishment, works to or redevelopment of these sites should be subject to a full architectural and archaeological assessment, including where appropriate underwater archaeological impact assessment.
Objective CH O10 - Record of Monuments and Places: It is an objective of the Council to:
Seek the preservation of all known sites and features of historical and archaeological interest. This includes all the sites listed in the Record of Monuments and Places, as established under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994.
8.3.1 Record of Protected Structures (RPS)
Limerick City and County Council is obliged to compile and maintain a Record of Protected Structures (RPS) under the provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). Under the Act, Local Authority objectives for the protection of structures, or parts of structures of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest are mandatory for inclusion in the Development Plan. The complete list for Limerick is available in Volume 3 of the Limerick Development Plan. Appendix 2 of this document provides the Record of Protected Structures located within the settlement of Patrickswell. There are 7 no. Protected Structures in Patrickswell, 2 of which are also listed on the NIAH.
Figure 8.7: RPS No. 1532 Arched Gateway at Attyflin
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) was established under the provisions of the Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1999. The purpose of the NIAH is to identify, record and evaluate post 1700 architectural heritage. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht carried out the survey to inform the preparation of the NIAH.
The diversity of structures in the village of Patrickswell include a Holy Well and Pump, Gateway with wing walls, a Graveyard and a Lime Kiln. When considering works, including minor works to a Protected Structure, owners/occupiers are advised to contact the Conservation Officer of Limerick City and County Council, to ascertain obligations in terms of the proposed development to avoid damage to the integrity of the historical built fabric of the structure.
Objective CH O11 - Protected Structures - It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Protect structures entered onto the Record of Protected Structures, or listed to be entered onto the Record and to encourage their appropriate re-use and restoration, where possible.
(b) Resist the demolition of Protected Structures, in whole or in part, the removal or modification of features of architectural importance, and design element that would adversely affect the character or setting of a Protected Structure, unless exceptional circumstances can be clearly demonstrated by a suitably qualified professional.