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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar is escorted to the launch of Ennis 2040 in the Old Ground Hotel by Cllr. Mary Howard. Photograph by John Kelly

Wetlands mooted in 2040 plan to help climate goals

Area to the east of Ennis identified as ideal to bring long term increased resilience to climate change

THE Ennis 2040 Economic and Spatial Strategy states that Ennis could be Ireland’s first climate adaptive town.

The document, launched last Friday by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, states that the town does have some advantages in this respect.

“Ennis is fortunate in having a large area east of the town centre that could, if planned for properly, bring long term benefits and increased resilience to climate change effects,” the document states.

“This area relates to the eastern lands between the railway and the M18 motorway. This area includes the River Fergus and its floodplains as well as a network of smaller streams, wetlands and small lakes.

“Large extents of this area have been identified as Flood Zone A, in line with the Flood Risk Management Guidelines.

“Ennis could be a national leader in demonstrating this approach, by optimising these lands for climate change adaptation, promoting the leadership required to deliver this and crucially enhancing the environmental resilience and benefits of such an approach.

“Through provision of non-vehicular access particularly on an east west orientation, keyhole development could be planned for a small number of identified areas and contribute to an exemplary project that puts pedestrians and cyclists first.”

Elaborating on the potential project, it says, “The ecological sensitivities of the River Fergus and habitats and species that rely upon this area would be a key starting point in any potential future management and we would envisage a series of areas grading from managed habitats to wilder areas that would include ecological corridors and buffer zones for species sensitive to potential disturbance.

“In turn there are opportunities to enhance existing ecological features, increase habitat such as alluvial woodlands and increase water filtration, carbon capture services as well as enhancing the overall landscape of the area.

“This area could be linked by a series of non-vehicular bridges that would span existing watercourses and offer the means to increase pedestrian and cycling connectivity in and around the Ennis area.”

It says the area includes the former landfill site, and the rail and bus station. It also says there could be a series of pedestrian and cycle paths that could connect to the Roslevan and Clarecastle areas.

It claims that a wetland parks area would be of huge benefit to the residents of Ennis and beyond and there could be opportunities for active recreation such as kayaking.

by Owen Ryan

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