Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Tourism Policy

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry South, Fine Gael)
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27. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider ways to offer incentives and compensation to farmers for any loss or inconvenience caused by allowing greenways or walkways through their lands, in view of the huge societal and economic potential that such infrastructure may bring; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46300/14]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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The economic and social benefits to local communities from the delivery of greenways in their locality is fully recognised by my Department.   In terms of the best land access models for greenway delivery, the use of publicly owned land is advantageous from the perspective of reducing costs. Negotiated permissive access, from the perspective of cost and public ownership, continues to have value but, for projects of national scale, consideration must be given to land purchase by agreement or if necessary by CPO.  The process of obtaining permissive access is resource intensive and I would have my doubts that such a process could be deployed on projects of national scale where agreement would need to be secured with hundreds or more landowners.  Greater investment is now being provided for greenways and it would be precarious to rely on permissive access where the associated agreements may be withdrawn at any time without recourse to the State. Of course, as already stated, it will be a matter for all developers of cycling infrastructure to consider access to land on a case by case basis and to take a multi-criteria approach in the route selection process.  

In the context of developing major cycling infrastructure projects that traverse long sections of privately owned land, I fully support the need to consider negotiated financial agreements or, if required, CPO. However, I certainly recommend that all other options are considered before land purchase is decided upon.

The key consideration should always be to select an approach that will maximise the future use of the amenity concerned.


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