21 JANUARY 2019
The Government’s recently published Greenway Strategy, which is backed by a €53 million funding call, contravenes several EU directives on environmental sustainability and resource efficiency according to Galway ICSA representative Adrian Kelly.
“EU directives and national planning regulations require developers, including local authorities, to compare and contrast the environmental impacts of reasonable alternatives to proposed projects. Projects should also be shown to use resources in an efficient and sustainable way. The central issue is that the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport (DTTAS) is trying to reinterpret greenway provision as being focused on the construction of new roads. This is a departure from best international practice and long standing national policy.”
“We know that rural cycling networks may include dedicated greenways but can also use minor country lanes with low traffic. Across Europe cycling tourists and family groups use many low-traffic roads as part of national and international (Eurovelo) cycle networks. However, the effect of the Greenway Strategy is to instruct local authorities to build new roads as a direct alternative to adapting existing features that can accommodate cycling infrastructure. This will result in proposed projects having an unnecessarily higher impact on the environment.”
ICSA is again calling on Minister Shane Ross to commit to building cycle routes using the internationally accepted and recognised Eurovelo guidelines and to immediately cease the use of CPOs to forcefully acquire working farmland and private property for such routes. Utilising Eurovelo guidelines will ensure that devising cycling infrastructure in this country will be a resource efficient, low carbon project conforming to EU directives.”