The National Planning Framework is due to be officially launched by Government tomorrow, along with the State’s ten year capital investment plan.
IFA made a detailed submission to the Draft National Planning Framework, which pointed out that the plan was Dublin-centric and lacked ambition for rural Ireland. The submission made recommendations of measures to address four key areas
To reverse the decline of rural towns and villages, IFA has proposed
- New business start-ups should receive incentives, such as exemptions from rates, for an initial time period and relief from capital gains tax, to encourage innovation and enterprise.
- Double tax relief should be provided on rental expenditure for businesses establishing in rural towns and villages.
- a condition for a valid planning application for an out-of-town development must include an obligation to demonstrate how all scenarios, including locating in the village or town centre, were first considered.
To rebalance development towards the regions, IFA has proposed
The swift delivery by Government of the Rural Broadband Scheme to ensure that every home, school and business in rural Ireland has access at a universal price to high-speed fibre broadband, no matter where they are located. The delivery of this measure alone, will reduce the necessity to commute long distances to work and purchase more expensive dwellings in urban locations.
On rural housing, IFA has proposed
The Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines for Planning Authorities must be revised and put on a statutory footing. These Guidelines should provide that local authorities would grant planning permission for farm families who wish to live and work in their local community, and extended family members who have an intrinsic link with their rural area.
To support farm-sale and community based renewable energy production, IFA has proposed
- Government must introduce statutory legislation, which places legal set-back distances for renewable projects from sensitive properties, including family homes, schools and villages.
- A national planning policy must be developed for community energy projects, which facilitates renewable projects that have community participation, farm scale and roof-mounted projects.
- Similar to other EU Member States, farm scale and roof-top renewable projects should be exempt from planning requirements.
Among the other observations made by IFA are:
The absence of policy direction on renewable energy planning policy in the draft plan must be addressed in the final plan, to provide the necessary assurances and certainty for farmers and the wider rural community.
IFA has expressed concern at the erroneous introduction of the UK concept of Open Countryside into the draft plan. While voluntary schemes are developed with bodies such as Comhairle na Tuaithe and others in Ireland, there is no common law ‘right to roam’ across the countryside. Any implied or otherwise rights or entitlements should be removed from the document.