12.2 Significant Policy Documents and Guidance

Dúnta22 Nol, 2020, 09:00 - 12 Már, 2021, 17:00

​​​​​​12.2 Significant Policy Documents and Guidance

The National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region will impact on transport in the way they promote Compact Growth and Sustainable Mobility as National Strategic Outcomes.  The transition to more sustainable modes of travel (walking, cycling, public transport) is promoted, particularly within smaller towns and villages and rural areas. The implementation of planning and transportation strategies for urban areas, with a major focus on improving walking and cycling routes is a requirement of the NPF and RSES. This to be achieved through the preparation of local transport plans.  

The NPF aims to “expand attractive transportation alternatives to car transport to reduce congestion and emissions”[1]. National Planning Objective 13 states that “in urban areas, planning and related standards, including in particular building heights and car parking will be based on performance criteria that seek to achieve well-designed high-quality outcomes in order to achieve targeted growth”.

The RSES aims to transform “our transport system towards well-functioning, sustainable, integrated public transport, walking and cycling and electric vehicles”[2].   Regional Policy Objective 11 provides for Local Transport Plans to be prepared for all the Key Towns.  Kilkenny City is designated as a significant key town within the region.

The Climate Action Plan identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for reduction in carbon emissions and a pathway towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  A priority of the Action Plan is tackling emissions from the Transport sector, which accounted for almost 20% of Ireland’s greenhouse gases in 2017.

In order to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gasses, the Government’s approach to reducing emissions from the Transport sector is to adopt policies to influence both the transport intensity of growth and the carbon intensity of travel.

To make growth less transport intensive, key objectives of the Climate Action Plan include:

  • The successful execution of Compact Growth as outlined in the NPF;
  • Accelerate the take up of EV cars and vans so that 100% of all new cars and vans are EVs by 2030 (950,000 EV’s on the country’s roads by 2030);
  • Expansion of walking, cycling and public transport networks to promote modal shift;
  • Giving Local Authorities more discretion in designating low emission zones;
  • Better use of market mechanisms to support modal shift;
  • The successful roll-out of the National Broadband Plan, which can promote remote working and wider activities which reduce unnecessary journeys;
  • Increase the renewable biofuel content of motor fuels.

The Climate Action Plan also deals with the electrification of both public and private transport, with a range of initiatives to boost the roll-out of low emission buses. The plan aims to decarbonise heavy and light goods vehicles and envisages zero emission postal deliveries.

The Council will promote walking, cycling, public transport and other more sustainable forms of transport as an alternative to the private car, together with the development of the necessary infrastructure and promotion of the initiatives contained within Smarter Travel, A Sustainable Transport Future 2009 – 2020.

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS), updated in 2019, promotes a holistic approach to the design of roads and streets within urban areas, focused on balancing the needs of all users.  The principles, approaches and standards set out in the Manual apply to the design of all urban roads and streets (with a speed limit of 60 km/h or less) and aims to put well designed streets at the heart of sustainable communities to promote access by walking, cycling and public transport, influenced by the type of place in which the street is located.

There is specific recognition of the importance to create secure and connected places that work for all, characterised by creating new and existing streets as attractive places with high priority afforded to pedestrians and cyclists while balancing the need for appropriate vehicular access and movement.

It is designed to respond to the principles of universal design, as outlined in documents such as ‘Building for Everyone, A Universal Design Approach[3].

The National Policy Framework on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport[4] (2017) represented the first step in the Government’s long-term vision for decarbonising transport by 2050.  The cornerstone of this document was the ambition that by 2030 all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will be zero-emissions capable.  This particular Framework focuses exclusively on reducing transport’s dependency on oil through the provision of infrastructure and common standards for alternative fuels, such as Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) and biofuels.

Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines for Planning Authorities, (DoEHLG, 2012) sets out planning policy considerations relating to development affecting National roads.  National roads play an integral role within Ireland’s overall transport system and in the country’s economic, physical and social development. The primary purpose of the National road network is to provide strategic connectivity between the main centres of population and employment, including key international gateways such as airports and ports, and to provide intra-regional connectivity.

Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments: Apartments are likely to form a greater proportion of housing delivery in Kilkenny in the future, particularly in the City.  The standards contain a number of transport-related issues relevant to the development of the Kilkenny Local Transport Plan including the following:

  • A default policy for car parking provision to be minimised, substantially reduced or wholly eliminated in highly accessible areas such as in or adjoining city cores or at a confluence of public transport systems such as rail and bus stations located in close proximity. Typically, these locations are within 15 minutes walking of city centres or within 10 minutes walking distance of commuter rail or bus stops or within 5 minutes walking distance of high frequency bus services;
  • A reduced overall parking standard and application of a maximum car parking standard for housing schemes with more than 45 dwellings per hectare net in suburban/urban locations served by public transport or close to town centres or employment areas;
  • A requirement that cycling is fully integrated into the design and operation of all new schemes; and a significant uptake in the quantity and quality of cycle parking provision in relation to the location, quantity, design, and management of bicycle storage areas.

The National Cycle Manual, developed by the NTA in 2012, presents the current best practice and advice in providing cycling facilities in urban and suburban environments. It promotes safe environments for cyclists, and all other road users, by integrating the design requirements of cyclists into the design for urban areas more generally.  It underlines the importance of integrating high-quality cycle infrastructure in the planning and designing of new developments at all levels of the network including the strategic level, the route planning level and at design level.  It provides technical information on the design of junctions, roundabouts, crossings, bus stops and so on to ensure the optimum balance between the various modes and road functions is reached.

A Best Practice Guide to Permeability, produced by the NTA in 2015, sets out guidance on how best to facilitate demand for walking and cycling in existing built-up areas.  The concept of permeability describes the extent to which an urban area permits ease of movement of people by walking or cycling when accessing their homes, shops, schools, local services, places of work and public transport stops and stations. Characteristics of a permeable environment are as follows:

  • Interconnected pedestrian and cycle street network;
  • Absence of high walls and fences segregating housing areas and local/district centres;
  • Absence of cul-de-sacs for pedestrians and cyclists; and
  • Secure, well-lit, overlooked pedestrian and cycle links between housing areas and between housing and local/district centres.

Achieving Effective Workplace Travel Plans Guidance for Local Authorities aims to assist local authorities to fully integrate the principles and practice of Workplace Travel Plans into both the development plan and the development management processes. A Workplace Travel Plan is an effective instrument used within the planning process to promote and support sustainable travel patterns to work at a site-specific level.


[1] NPF p143

[2] RSES p 26

[3] Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, Building for Everyone, A Universal Design Approach

[4] Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, National Policy Framework on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport, 2017

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