Chapter 9 - Infrastructure and Utilities
The sustainable social and economic growth of Patrickswell is dependent on adequate provision of high quality infrastructure associated with the provision of services for new developments. Infrastructure refers to a number of key services including water supply, wastewater disposal, surface water disposal, waste management, electricity and gas networks, which are all important factors in facilitating the future development of the settlement. The location of future development, including the zoning of land and the associated objectives of the Plan and the Council’s assessment of planning applications, is informed by the capacity and availability of infrastructure. 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. This chapter specifically addresses water and wastewater infrastructure, surface water management, flood risk management, energy generation and waste management including transitioning to a low carbon economy.
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 rests with Uisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water).
Patrickswell’s public water is currently sourced from the Limerick City water supply. There is sufficient capacity available to supply the existing and projected needs of the village, as set out in the Draft LAP. Patrickswell’s wastewater disposal system is connected to the Limerick Main Drainage scheme, via a pumping station at Barnakyle. Waste water is then pumped to Raheen for treatment at the Wastewater Treatment Works at Bunlicky. This scheme replaced the existing sewerage system, which was at capacity and was inhibiting the growth of the settlement. The Wastewater Treatment Works at Bunlicky has sufficient capacity to cater for the existing and future population of Patrickswell, as identified in the LAP.
Policy IU P1 - Infrastructure and Utilities: It is policy of the Council to:
Ensure the provision of adequate infrastructure capacity to accommodate future development and the timely provision of infrastructure needed for the sustainable growth of Patrickswell.
Objective IU O1 - Infrastructure: It is an objective of the Council to:
Ensure compliance for infrastructure led-growth, in accordance with the DHPLG Water Services Guidelines for Planning Authorities.
Objective IU O2 - Water Infrastructure: It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Ensure compliance for infrastructure lead growth in accordance with the DHPLG Water Services Guidelines for Planning Authorities.
(b) Facilitate improvements to the existing water supply system to cater for the needs of an expanding population.
(c) Ensure that development proposals provide adequate water infrastructure to facilitate proposed developments. Evidence of consultation by developers with Uisce Éireann prior to submit a planning application will be required.
(d) Ensure future development protects existing wayleave and buffer zones around public water services infrastructure.
(e) Promote water conservation and demand management measures among all water users and to support Uisce Éireann in implementing water conservation measures, such as leakage reduction and network improvements, including innovative solutions in specific situations.
(f) Proposal for abstraction of water will be subject to the appropriate environmental assessments and demonstrate compliance with the requirements of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive and the Water Framework Directive.
Objective IU O3 - Wastewater Infrastructure: It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Support the implementation of the Uisce Éireann Investment Plans, in accordance with the settlement strategy of the RSES and the Limerick Development Plan.
(b) Ensure adequate wastewater infrastructure is available to cater for existing and proposed development, in collaboration with Uisce Éireann, 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 separate networks and nature-based rainwater management measures. Applications for development under the Draft Plan must demonstrate that the proposal for development would not adversely affect a water body’s ability to meet its objectives under the Water Framework Directive, individually as a result of the proposed development or cumulatively, in combination with other developments. Evidence of consultation by developers with Uisce Éireann, prior to submitting a planning application will be required.
(c) Ensure compliance for infrastructure led-growth in accordance with the DHPLG Water Services Guidelines for Planning Authorities.
(d) Facilitate improvements to the existing wastewater system to cater for the needs of an expanding population.
(e) Ensure future development protects existing wayleave and buffer zones around public water services infrastructure.
Adequate storm water drainage and retention facilities are necessary to accommodate surface water runoff from existing and proposed developments. Rivers, streams and ditches are important blue green infrastructure corridors and habitats in Patrickswell, 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. Regard will be had to the Government’s best practice guidance document, Nature-based Solutions to the Management of Rainwater and Surface Water Runoff in Urban Areas (December 2021).
Objective IU O4 - 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 Draft Ireland River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2022
-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. Proposals shall have regard to the Nature-based Solutions to the Management of Rainwater and Surface Water Run-off in Urban Areas – Best Practice Interim Guidance’ document.
(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 Patrickswell LAP has taken flood risk into consideration when preparing 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 Patrickswell. 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 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment has been carried out and is set out in the Environmental Reports that support the making of this Draft Plan. In the absence of CFRAM data for the Barnakyle River, a detailed hydrological study for the Barnakyle River was carried out and has been use to define the flood zones. The flood risk zones identified have influenced the Draft Land Use Zoning Map provided in Appendix 1.
Objective IU O5 - 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) Ensure development proposals within the areas outlined as being at risk of flooding are subject to Site Specific Flood Risk Assessment as outlined in “The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines”, DECLG and OPW (2009). These Flood Risk Assessments shall consider climate change impacts and adaptation measures including details of structural and non-structural flood risk management measures, such as those relating to floor levels, internal layout, flood-resistant construction, flood-resilient construction, emergency response planning and access and egress during flood events. Reference shall be made to Section 5.8 requirements of the Flood Risk Assessment in the SFRA of the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028.
(c) Ensure that future developments in flood prone areas are generally limited to minor developments in line with the Flood Risk Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities and the Circular PL 2/2014.
(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.
(e) Ensure future development of lands within Flood Zone A/B is in accordance with the plan-making Justification Tests in the SFRA.
Objective IU O6 - 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 O7 - Buffer Zone: It is an objective of the Council to:
Provide an appropriate set back from the edge of watercourses to proposed developments to protect the integrity of the Barnakyle River and to ensure infinite access 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.
Patrickswell is served by the ESB Network, an overhead 110kV transmission lines and Gas Network. The higher-level spatial plans indicate that 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 energy industry is increasingly cost competitive. As part of a second phase of the Patrickswell Village Renewal Scheme, an electric charge point is being provided within the village.
According to Census 2016 data, 71% of households have broadband internet services in Patrickswell. According to the National Broadband Plan, connections to the village includes the provision of speeds of up to 30mbps or greater with 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 Patrickswell, as part of the WiFi4EU initiative, National Broadband Ireland and the Vodafone Business Continuity Plan initiative at The Dark House, Barnakyle and Centra Patrickswell.
Objectives IU O8 - 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 aims 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 promotes 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 Patrickswell. 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 O9 - Waste Management and Circular Economy: It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) 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.
(b) Require all commercial and residential development to provide an adequate internal and external space for the correct storage of waste and recyclable materials.
(c) Require that development proposals have regard to the Best Practice Guidelines for the Preparation of Resource and Waste Management Plans for Construction and Demolition Projects.