Chapter 9: Landscape and Green Infrastructure

Uimhir Thagarta Uathúil: 
Pádraig Webb

Chapter 9: Landscape and Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure/ Regeneration Strategy

The Carlow County Development Plan review will ‘’deal with biodiversity and environmental protection’’……, it refers to the United Nations sustainable development goals including goal 15 which aims to ‘’ Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss’’, it acknowledges the role of heritage in promoting biodiversity.

Project Carlow 2040 acknowledges the benefits of biodiversity, particularly in an urban setting. It includes enhancing biodiversity resources under its sustainability principles for development going forward.

''Urban policy-makers have increasingly been exploring the links between urban planning and public health, specifically in relation to the potential for urban environments to have positive impacts on health outcomes and healthy lifestyles, such as through.....access to ‘nature’/biodiversity''.

''These health services are understood to range from direct positive effects on mental and physical health from increased biodiversity, to improved well-being resulting from increased exposure to nature'' 

''Supports biodiversity initiatives in the Town Centre.''

''Encouraging biodiversity within the public realm.''  

''Integrating unique amenity and biodiversity spaces into the urban fabric''.  

''Protect and enhance Carlow Town’s unique biodiversity''

‘’Maintaining, enhancing and protecting healthy air and water and enhancing biodiversity resources’’


  • These benefits of biodiversity also need to be acknowledged in the Carlow County Development Plan 2022-2028 such that developments/initiatives contributing to such biodiversity and human health and well-being are adequately funded, resourced and acknowledged and that biodiversity is protected and conserved.
  • Swifts form an integral part of this urban biodiversity and must be conserved with a view to including provisions for in built boxes in developments going forward as part of the plan. 
  • In built Swift boxes should be included in any new developments at the IT Carlow Campus.

Project Ireland 2040 also acknowledges the benefit of green infrastructure ….

(’’ 3. Takes space back into the public realm

In the first instance, Carlow County Council plan to deliver more public space, with the aim to encourage more people to spend more time outdoors. Carlow County Council also plans to make public space more responsive to the needs of those who use it. This Strategy seeks to provide plentiful, accessible and exciting public spaces in Carlow Town that are filled with people all day and all year round, providing a fundamental element of urban life. Extended and new riverside pedestrian routes, open spaces, and activities all connected by greatly improved pedestrian/cyclist networks will support this concept alongside a focus on green infrastructure, where Carlow will seek to find economic opportunities in the greening process. Overall, improving the quality and enhancing the accessibility to public open spaces will result in multiple benefits including health and wellbeing as well as sustainable transport, biodiversity and recreation.’’)

The current draft county development plan acknowledges the biodiversity benefits of Green Infrastructure; namely ‘’ • Improved habitats for wildlife • Provision of ecological corridors • Landscape permeability • Reducing habitat fragmentation • Providing a buffer against climate change for habitats and species’’

  • We must ensure that any further ‘’Green Infrastructure’’ development within Carlow does not contradict any of these biodiversity benefits.
  • We must acknowledge and protect existing green spaces currently providing for and fulfilling the role of Green Infrastructure.
  • Existing urban areas within Carlow town which need to be protected from unsuitable developments and acknowledged as currently providing green infrastructure which supports biodiversity and human well-being in open green spaces in an urban environment include those listed below; Green spaces around the old Youth Centre and Castle Rangers FC, Green Space behind/ south of New Oak Boys AFC, Green space east of Eire Og football grounds, Link road south of River Burren and surrounding woods and scrub areas which was never opened, Green Space River Burren Linear walk between railway bridge and new link road that was never opened, River Barrow Tow path full length of county.
  • The green space area east of Eire Og, the link road south of the river Burren and surrounding woods and scrub areas which was never opened, the green space between the railway bridge and the new link road that was never opened forming part of the River Burren Linear walk, and  the Burren linear walk itself,  should all be designated as a high amenity urban area managed for biodiversity and human well-being through the provision of an outdoor space (as is) within a densely populated part of Carlow town.  
  • The view of the Barrow Valley, Lugnaquilla and the Wicklow mountains, Mt. Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountains, Brandon Hill and Slievenamon, from the elevated ridge to the west side of the county extending from Killeshin and Rossmore in Laois and Clogrenan in Carlow at the north all the way south to Milebush Cross Roads and Coorleagh should be preserved and afforded protection from development which would hinder the view, especially that at 52.711463, -7.051644, where all of the above can be seen from one point.
  • Proposed changes in zoning see Figures attached Carlow town Green spaces around the Carlow Youth Centre and Castle Rangers FC to be changed from Business and Innovation to Open Space and Amenity, Green Space south of Woodies to be changed from Retail Warehousing to Open Space and Amenity, and Green Space east of Eire Og to be changed from Enterprise and Employment to Open Space and Amenity.

Infrastructure (Water/Wastewater and Environmental Services)

  • Include the use of Integrated Constructed Wetlands in the process of wastewater treatment in the upgrade of all existing and the creation of new wastewater treatment plants throughout the county, to include public access for recreation and amenity where possible.