Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (642)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

642. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the policy on protecting green spaces, including allotments and community gardens, in city areas in view of the benefits of such to general health and well-being and specifically mental health outcomes for inner city residents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4964/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Policy objectives in relation to specific land uses, including green spaces, allotments and community gardens, are a matter for local planning authorities as part of the City/County Development Plan and Local Area Plan processes. Part I of the First Schedule of the Planning Act 2000, as amended, provides for the reservation of land for use and cultivation as allotments and regulating, promoting, facilitating or controlling the provision of land for that use.

City and County Development Plans set out a strategic framework for the proper planning and sustainable development of the administrative area of the local authority and must be consistent with longer term planning and sustainable development aims, including those set out in the National Planning Framework (NPF).

The NPF sets out an ambitious high-level national vision for Ireland for 2040, and provides the planning framework and principles to manage future population and economic growth over the next 20 years. A key principle of the NPF prioritises the compact growth of our villages, towns and urban areas. Securing compact and sustainable urban growth means focusing on reusing previously developed ‘brownfield’ land, building up infill sites and either reusing or redeveloping existing sites and buildings, in well serviced urban locations, particularly those served by good public transport and supporting services, including employment opportunities.

The NPF provides a policy framework for more compact urban growth rather than car dependent sprawl, while also providing safeguards that protect the environment, promote healthy communities and lifestyle choices. One of the principal benefits of more compact urban development is that it will enhance public health by encouraging and facilitating more active lifestyles by creating a more walkable and cycling friendly urban environment. It will continue to be a matter for local planning authorities to balance all of these factors in relation to specific areas and sites.