Responses to the draft development plan as the deadline approaches
A wide range of submissions have already been made by members of the public as well as government departments and relevant development agencies such as Údarás na Gaeltachta on the Draft County Development Plan, a document that outlines a vision for Cork during of the 2022-2028 lifespan of the plan.
They include responses relating to specific properties as well as submissions relating to broader issues such as conservation, the environment, Gaeltacht communities in the county and controversies such as the proliferation of windmills in some rural areas of west, central and north Cork.
The submission of Nigel de Haas, an environmental activist living in West Cork, concerns the town of Dunmanway which he says has been “over-industrialized with a preponderance of wind developments” and would easily find resonance in villages like Béal Átha. n Ghaorthaidh, which is surrounded on all sides by towering turbines or near Millstreet on the slopes of Mullach an Ois or Mushera. This is illustrated by the fact, cited in the draft document, that Cork, in 2020, produced 603 megawatts of wind power, or 16% of the national total.
This is out of step with the proportion of the country’s population in the county, 10%. This does not take into account the concentration of population in Cork City as all wind turbines are located in rural areas. The area of the county is 11% of the area of the country.
Another memoir, by Hanna Szopna, concerns housing issues. She called the project’s zoning too restrictive and called for help because she had not been able to purchase land for a family home in the previous two years.
His submission states: “There has been a shortage of houses in Ireland, but strict zoning is still in place, which prevents most people from buying the sites to build the houses.
She wonders whether the requirement that locals apply for a building permit and whether farmers who own a lot of unused land should be taxed for this, as many struggled to find a place to live. It also raises the issue of population density and how that was conducive to the spread of the virus.
Birdwatch Ireland made a submission calling on Council to make arrangements for nesting Swifts throughout the planning process. The organization wants Swift nest boxes / bricks and call systems to provide permanent and safe nesting sites during renovations.
Thomas Hickey made a submission to the plan to express concern about the “mixed deciduous forests” around Doneraile. He specified Mounnadowna wood, Roughfield oak wood, Dreenagh wood and Dromdeer oak wood.
According to Thomas’ submission: “These woods are under the control of Coillte and, as they are threatened, for commercial reasons.”
He called for the imposition of a tree preservation ordinance because he believed it was “the only way to ensure the preservation of these vital mixed deciduous habitats.”
The Cork Nature Network (CNN) made a detailed submission calling for a greater focus on biodiversity and the document that outlines the “nine gaps” that the Council should address in the plan before proceeding further.
The network suggests the impact of development on biodiversity during the period of the last plan.
The first shortcoming is the lack of an “information base to know how bad it is, let alone to plan for better”.
“A second glaring shortcoming is the lack of an update to the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for the county.
“A 13-year-old document! How would planners, developers, communities and businesses know about biodiversity in the county.
“How would they get a raison d’être, the importance that should be attached to action in favor of biodiversity?
“A new PAB must be completed urgently.”
Among the issues related to the remaining gaps is the lack of a definition of “sustainable agriculture” (which the plan says should be encouraged).
The Cork Nature Network also suggests that the political goals of the plan are weak and “will not bring about enough change to transform the fate of nature across Cork”. It also suggests that policy goals related to biodiversity are not “results-based”.
According to the CNN document, all major infrastructure projects should be required to generate a true overall net gain for biodiversity.
The CNN document also says the plan should contain delivery terms for biodiversity, as the network says poor delivery guarantees failure. The remaining gaps refer to the plan’s lack of indicators regarding diversity and the conclusion that it would anchor failure unless it signals drastic change.
Macroom-based Inland Fisheries Ireland also made a detailed submission in which it called, among other demands, for the development plan to be consistent with river management plans and in line with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. EU water (2000/60 / EC). He also called for policies that “would prevent developments in areas where the sanitation infrastructure necessary for development does not exist”. The breadth and detail of submissions already available for review on the County Council’s website indicate a high level of public engagement. Further submissions are expected to be sent to Council in the coming days as the deadline approaches July 1. Even then, the discussion will continue.