Chambers Ireland today (16 February 2018) welcomed the publication of the National Planning Framework Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan. 

Responding to the publication, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot commented,

“Project Ireland 2040 has been years in the making and throughout this period of stakeholder consultation Chambers Ireland and our Network of local chambers proactively engaged in submitting recommendations to Government which, we are pleased to note, have significantly impacted upon the final Project Ireland 2040.

We are particularly encouraged by the comprehensive alignment between these two important national plans. The National Planning Framework is an ambitious plan for growth and the coordination of the National Development Plan with it sets out a clear, long-term vision for the future development of the country and puts solid funding commitments behind it.

This joined-up thinking marks a step-change in Irish spatial planning and an opportunity to depart from the mistakes of the past.

The inclusion of the five new regional centres of Sligo, Athlone, Dundalk, Drogheda and Letterkenny will ensure that no region is left behind and should allay previous concerns that the plan lacked balance.

Businesses will be pleased with the commitment to enhance our transport network and port infrastructure. Following a campaign by members of our Network of chambers on the Atlantic Economic Corridor, it is welcome news that this important project is to be further developed. This Corridor will have positive implications for the region and indeed for the country as a whole as enhanced connectivity stands to benefit our wider economy.   

The commitment to invest significantly in the public transport of our cities is laudable and, along with the emphasis on re-developing brownfield spaces, will enhance our city environments and reduce urban sprawl.

The plan includes a move towards more sustainable growth for our country, with due consideration for the environment and society in the form of €22 billion committed to low carbon planning and significant levels of funding for education, healthcare and the arts.

Chambers Ireland has been calling on Government to significantly increase levels of spending on infrastructure as the best way to protect our economy from the threat of Brexit, to support continued growth and improve quality of life. We welcome the target to bring Ireland from one of the lowest levels of capital investment in the EU to among the highest by 2024.

We would caution however that given the €116 billion investment that is now planned over the next ten years and the many large-scale infrastructure projects set to begin, it is imperative that Government ensure our planning and procurement processes are properly equipped to meet these targets. We cannot deliver Project Ireland 2040 without our planning and procurement processes having the resources and legislative backing to support it. Getting this right is the next step in the implementation of these plans.