Section 3: Economic Development and Employment
Question: What are the rural growth industries and how can the Development Plan support them?
Supporting Development and Employment.
The rural growth industries are agriculture, tourism, green gas, biogas, energy storage, data centres, solar and wind.
This Development Plan can support rural growth industries by having the appropriate locations for development identified and by having coherent well defined policies consistent with national and regional planning objectives.
For instance, a large wind farm would represent an investment of €150m and would bring c.40 jobs to an area at construction stage and support up to 20 jobs at operational stage. Furthermore it will increase the disposable income in the area arising from land rents paid to landowners. It is estimated that 40% of income generated in an area is spent within the area.
Under the Draft Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) published by Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE), there is a strong emphasis on community participation whereby a pre-qualification criterion for a project’s participation in the RESS will be that “the community” has been offered an opportunity to invest in that project. In addition, the rates payable to the Local Authority could bring in excess of €1m per annum to the economy1.
The Development Plan should encourage renewable energy generation in rural areas and planning policies should recognise that wind turbines are a legitimate and positive element in a manmade landscape.