Today: November 22, 2017, 5:46 pm

Council explores new development opportunities for Shannon Estuary

Clare County Council is proposing to zone more than 345 hectares of land along the Shannon Estuary for the development of marine related industry. 2014-08-19 15:59:29
Two Strategic Development Locations (SDL) have been identified at Cahercon and Moneypoint where the Council says existing pier facilities and deep estuarial water provide potential for maritime industry investment.

Clare County Council is proposing to incorporate the zoned lands into the Clare County Development Plan 2011-17 along with the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, a major strategic plan for the future development and management of marine-related industry and tourism along Ireland’s largest estuary.

The land and marine-based plan, the first of its type to be developed in the country, was launched in late 2013 by a multi-agency steering group comprising Clare County Council as lead authority, Kerry County Council, Limerick City and County Council, Shannon Development and Shannon Foynes Port Company. Clare County Council is the first local authority to seek to incorporate the Plan into its County Development Plan.

The Proposed Variation no. 2 to the Clare County Development Plan is likely to go to the full Council meeting in November, representing the first involvement of the new Council in making a variation to a Development Plan.

In advance of November's meeting, the public are being asked to consider making written submissions or observations (two copies) with respect to the proposed variation to the Plan.

Tom Coughlan, Chief Executive of Clare County Council and Chairman of the SIFP Steering Group explained that the incorporation of the SIFP will give effect to a key goal of the existing Clare County Development Plan.

He continued: "The County Development Plan builds on the strategic location and natural resources of the Estuary by facilitating and maximising its potential for industrial development including port and harbour facilities in appropriate locations, improving connectivity, promoting tourism and recreational assets while managing the estuarine and natural environment in full conformance with the requirements of the Habitats Directive. The SIFP and zoning of lands at Cahercon and Moneypoint will enable the Council to work towards achieving this vision."

The Chief Executive also noted that the local authorities in conjunction with Shannon Foynes Port Company and the IDA are stepping up efforts to promote and market the estuary as a key investment location and that the zoning of lands at these locations will give greater “investor certainty”.

Speaking ahead of the public consultation process, Clare County Council's Senior Planner said the proposed rezoning of Cahercon and Moneypoint presented significant opportunities for marine industry development.

Gordon Daly explained: "The Innismurry / Cahercon SDL, which comprises approximately 66 hectares of land, has potential for development of marine related industry due to a well sheltered location with an existing pier offering direct access to a large pocket of well sheltered deep water and the main navigation channel. It also has a considerable area of hinterland available and is in close proximity to the R473."

Moneypoint SDL meanwhile, which comprises approximately 280 hectares is located on the Shannon Estuary 5km east of Kilrush and this landbank includes one of Ireland’s largest electricity generation stations.

According to Mr. Daly: “The proposed marine related industry zoning recognises the importance of the existing Moneypoint Power Plant Facility and facilitates its expansion and or redevelopment. It also includes lands to the east of the Power Plant not in the ownership of the ESB that could further harness the deepwater potential in this area which has excellent road access and is close to the town of Kilrush and the Killimer-Tarbert Ferry."

“The deepwater resource at this area close to the mouth of the Shannon Estuary is also an identified tidal energy resource opportunity available for exploration," concluded Mr. Daly.

Copies of the proposed variation including the accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report and Habitats Directive Assessment – Natura Impact Report may be inspected during normal opening hours from Friday 22nd August to Monday 22nd September 2014 both days inclusive, at the:
• Planning and Enterprise Development Department, Clare Co. Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Rd, Ennis, Co. Clare.
• West Clare Municipal Distinct Office, Kilrush Town Hall, Kilrush, Co. Clare
• All public libraries in Co. Clare.
• On the Clare County Council website

Written submissions or observations (two copies) with respect to the proposed variation to the Plan including the Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report, and the Habitats Directive Assessment - Natura Impact Report may be made to the Planning and Enterprise Development Department, Clare Co. Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Rd., Ennis, Co. Clare or by email to (max. document size by email: 4 MB) or by fax to 065 6892071, no later than 4p.m. Monday 22nd September 2014.

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Mark Dunphy

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