SDCC Dev Plan: Natural Heritage and Biodiversity
By Aideen O'Flaherty
South Dublin County Council has started the process of reviewing the County Development Plan, with those living across communities invited to have their say on how their county and neighbourhood develops into the future.
According to South Dublin County Council, the County Development Plan is one of the most important documents for a local authority, and impacts on how the county deals with climate change, how people move around, where people live and work and the quality of their lives.
The first, eight-week public consultation stage of the new plan started on Friday, July 31, with citizens of the county invited to make submissions under one or all of eight strategic issues until September 28.
The eight key strategic issues include; built environment and place making; climate action and energy; population growth and housing; sustainable movement; community services; economic development and employment; natural heritage and biodiversity; and infrastructure and utilities.
This week, The Echo asked South Dublin County Council about the strategic issue of natural heritage and biodiversity, with the local authority stating that they need to strike a balance between land use and the protection of the environment.
The importance of natural heritage and biodiversity became particularly apparent during the lockdown, when many residents of South Dublin County visited their local parks and greenspaces.
Laurence Colleran, the council’s senior executive parks superintendent, told The Echo: “Throughout the Covid period, visits to parks and open spaces have helped people to maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The sensory garden in Sean Walsh Park
“Contact with nature has so many benefits for people and it seems that the more natural the environment, the more people can benefit from it.”
The County Development Plan “needs to take strong action” to strike a balance between “the need for more development in the county and the need to protect our environment to ensure we live in harmony”, according to the council.
A Green Infrastructure Strategy and an Open Space and Parks Strategy are currently being developed for the county.
The strategies are being created in order to influence decision making on development that is proposed within the county, and to encourage forward thinking about introducing and re-introducing – where previously lost – biodiversity within built-up areas of the county.
This in turn will help to provide for high quality and attractive residential, employment and community areas where biodiversity and ecosystem services can be promoted, encouraging inward investment, according to the council.
A council spokesperson told The Echo: “The landscape of South Dublin is one of its greatest resources.
“The landscape setting comprising of the urbanised lowlands; the hills and mountains provide essential ecological and cultural functions, as well as offering extensive views across Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains.”
However, as a citizen, what do you think should be at the forefront of plans relating to biodiversity and natural heritage in the county?
The County Development Plan is asking what measures should be put in place to support preservation but also to allow necessary development – how would you like to see this being approached?
Do you believe that enough of a balance has been struck between development on and preservation of greenspaces in the county so far?
Share your thoughts and views by visiting www.sdcc.ie/en/devplan2022.
If you wish to make an appointment, please contact Planning Secretariat at 01 414 000.
A virtual consultation room is now also open to visitors, with people invited to visit the consultation room and help shape the future of their county at https://sdcc-27240.web.app/.
Submissions can also be made through the post to County Hall in Tallaght, and or further details or to view a hard copy of the plan call the council on 01 414 9000.
Anybody who would like to arrange a meeting with a member of the council can email email@example.com.
The public consultation stage will remain open until September 28.
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