Report from Economic SPC Strategic Policy Committee meeting January 8th 2018

Happy New Year all. It’s hard to believe it’s 2018.

Here’s the agenda of the Economic SPC of Jan 8th.

Agenda 8th January 2018

  1. Minutes of meeting held on the 13thNovember and matters arising.
  2. Presentation by Mr. Vincent McCormack, GE Kinetics on Renewable Energy.
  3. Presentation on the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region.
  4. Update on Call for Expressions of Interest from Landowners and Developers for Development of Data Centres in County Clare.
  5. Update on the preparation of an Economic and Spatial Plan for Ennis to 2040.
  6. Discussion on SPC’s key economic messages and priorities for 2018.
  7. AOB – Date of next meeting – 12th March 2018.

Here are the minutes from the previous meeting which were passed. This included my presentation on policies relevant to the SPC.

SPC Minutes 13th November 2017

We had an interesting presentation on new micro generation, community scale, tidal energy technologies being trialed on the river Shannon. However I failed to see how it was relevant to the SPC. This guy offers to make a presentation to us and he’s on the agenda. I must put together my presentation wish list so. I’d rather have a say in who I have to listen to and know that it equates to the SPCs work.

There is currently a consultation on the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy RSES. It closes on February 2nd. Here’s a presentation we received on it – worth browsing for an overview RSES Presentation – SPC Meeting 8 Jan 2018

It struck me as most bizarre that the purpose of the RSES is to support the implementation of the National Planning Framework which hasn’t even been published yet. This was discussed at the meeting and apparently a lot of people and other councils allegedly have issue with it. I suggested we tell the department to wait until the NPF is published before consulting on the RSES. That was received like a lead balloon.

I asked if anything was being planned to facilitate Clare residents awareness and participation in the RSES. There is nothing planned.

The Call for Expressions of Interest from Landowners and Developers for Development of Data Centres is still open. I raised a point that data centres pose an environmental strain while consuming vast amounts of energy and we would want to be very sure about where they could be safely placed in the county. Any proposal should consider local power generation possibly in conjunction with the community.

We should also remember that planing requires more than the landowners intent so realistically it should be community based plans. If the community thinks a data centre is something they want all well and good. While more transparent this process is akin to the wind debacle of the Midlands where industry decided locations. Now its the landowners. The Aarhus convention protects the publics right to participate and the earlier the better.

There wasn’t much else to add as the last item was deferred to the next meeting.

We had fun setting a new date. The schedule clashed with some other arrangements so when we eventually settled on a date and time it clashes with my children needing care. So I asked if childcare is covered? No was the answer and the remark that there are children running around in the lobby waiting for their parents. So there you go. Clare county council does not support the participation of people responsible for children.

Theresa O’Donohoe

January 17th 2018

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