The making, implementation and review of a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) is a function of the relevant Regional Assembly, in this case the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).
In accordance with section 23 of the 2000 Act, the objective of a RSES is to provide a long-term strategic planning and economic framework for the development of the region that is consistent with the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the economic policies or objectives of the Government.
That particular section also requires a Regional Assembly to ensure that the Strategy is consistent with the relevant plans and strategies of specified public bodies, including the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Further, when making a RSES, the Regional Assemblies in respect of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) must ensure that the Strategy is consistent with the Transport Strategy of the National Transport Authority (NTA).
My role as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to the RSES process is to ensure that the Strategy reflects Project Ireland 2040 and all relevant statutory requirements, including that the RSES is consistent with the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), which provides the statutory framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure for the region, with associated funding included in the NDP.
In this regard, I gave notice on 7 August 2019 to EMRA that I intended to issue a Direction under Section 31A of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) in relation to objectives within the RSES that identified additional rail, metro and LUAS infrastructure, which went beyond the scope of the NTA Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035, the National Planning Framework 2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027. This statutory process remains ongoing and accordingly I am not in a position to comment further at this stage.
I can say, however, that I understand that a review of the GDA Transport Strategy will commence next year and will enable re-examination of travel demand across the GDA based on the most recent forecasts of population and employment distribution. It will be more appropriate at that point, and through that process, for further public transport project proposals to be identified and considered.