Submission to Kilkenny Development plan 2021-2027

Submission of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful to the Kilkenny Draft Kilkenny City Development Plan – March 2021

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Since its inception over 40 years ago, Keep Kilkenny Beautiful’s core objective has always been the creation, maintenance and continual improvement of a clean and healthy environment for the enjoyment of all of Kilkenny’s citizens and visitors. We see this as a vital social service in today’s society, as the health and sustainability of our environment has a direct impact on the quality of life, physical and mental health of those who live here. Keep Kilkenny Beautiful (KKB) has played a leading and integral role in ensuring that Kilkenny continues to be a beautiful and healthy place to live in and to visit. In close partnership with Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny’s communities, we have helped to maintain litter free streets, rivers, residential areas and approach roads. Formal landscape presentations, colourful raised beds, hanging baskets, floral presentations and well-presented buildings have added colour and beauty and have helped Kilkenny win many Tidy Towns Awards – and most recently our unprecedented 5th IBAL Tidy Towns Award. Keeping Kilkenny Beautiful is now an important part of our heritage and of our culture.

Keep Kilkenny Beautiful is conscious of the urgency of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those pertaining to good health, climate action and also biodiversity loss. We urge the County Council to make the decisions now that will enable us to achieve these goals by 2030. We make this submission with particular emphasis on the specific goals of:

SDG.3.Good Health.

 SDG 6 – Clean Water;

 SDG.7.Affordable and Clean Energy.

 SDG 10 – Reduced Inequality;

 SDG 11- Sustainable Cities and Communities;

 SDG.12 – Responsible Consumption.

SDG 13 – Climate Action;

SDG 14 – Life Below Water;

SGD 15 – Life on Land;

SDG 17 – Partnerships to achieve the Goal.

We believe that at this critical point, any Local Authority Development Plan should be developed and designed to ensure that at County, City and local levels we maximise our contribution to achieving SDG Goals. In this context we offer this submission for consideration, which we believe to be important in creating a sustainable and inclusive future for all of Kilkenny’s citizens.

Climate Change Mitigation

Keep Kilkenny Beautiful proposes that:

  • The Kilkenny Tree Cover Master Cover Plan, initiated in 2020 by Keep Kilkenny Beautiful, Kilkenny City Area Office and Kilkenny Parks Department, be integrated into a Kilkenny City and County Tree Management Strategy as part of Kilkenny County Council’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to combat and mitigate against climate change, also fulfilling the Nature Based Solution Actions 9 & 10 in the Kilkenny Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019.
  • That Kilkenny County Council would collaborate with Keep Kilkenny Beautiful in an annual Biodiversity and Tree Planting Challenge in partnership with the 32 County Tree

Planting Charity, Trees in the Land; The National Tree Council; and other landowners and community stakeholders in the planting of specific numbers of trees and hedgerows, which we propose should be at least 8000 trees per year – which equals to a mile of hedgerow.

  • That Kilkenny County Council would seek to identify and acquire additional suitable land for continued tree planting in the future, given the importance of such in mitigating climate change, and would seek to involve Kilkenny communities in this activity.
  • That trees and hedgerows be planted where possible in the Market Yard and St Mary’s Car Park as per the objectives of the Climate Change 2019 Adaptation Strategy.
  • That native tree and hedgerow planting be used in and around all new housing developments and avoid the use of Laurel, a non-native and invasive tree.
  • That the principles of Net Biodiversity Gain be adopted as a condition of all future infrastructure and housing development.
  • That a Municipal bio-digester be constructed as a priority within or close to the city to produce sustainable energy and also to produce quality peat-free horticultural compost.
  • That the responsible and sustainable production and use of renewable energy be prioritised.

Biodiversity and the Pollinator Plan

That Kilkenny County Council would devise and implement Local Area Biodiversity Action Plans in line with the Kilkenny Tree Cover Master Plan.

That Kilkenny County Council would follow the lead taken by other County Councils and commit to increasing their actioning of the National Pollinator Plan through the following:

  • To commit to changing the grass management regime on council-owned land through procuring the equipment or services that will allow this land to be better managed for biodiversity, recognising that current grass management services are not appropriate for this task. This will increase ecological connectivity, contribute towards biodiversity net gain and increase the natural capital value of our publicly-owned land, as well as decreasing carbon dioxide emissions from the reduction in grass cutting.
  • To increase the use of wild flower meadows on public lands, road verges and roundabouts.
  • To select planting schemes that are pollinator-friendly and sustainable – eg choosing perennials and grasses that will have year-long interest rather than seasonal annuals.
  • To commit to reduction and phasing out of pesticides with the exception of dealing with aggressive invasive species.
  • To promulgate the pollinator plan among council staff and offer Continuous Professional Development training in biodiversity.
  • To commit to delaying grass cutting on council owned land (other than sporting pitches) until the middle of April at the earliest.
  • To support and develop the Invasive Species programme currently being implemented by KKB with the assistance of Nore Vision and under the direction and guidance of the Parks Department and NPWS.
  • To seek to enter Council-owned park areas into the Green Flag for Parks Pollinator Award.

That Kilkenny County Council would recognise and further develop the many societal and health benefits of increasing citizen participation, learning and understanding in biodiversity, nature and growing food through the following:

  • Creation of allotment provision in all 4 quarters of the City and the city centre, and encouragement of citizens through provision of community training opportunities in pollinator-friendly and sustainable gardening.
  • Scoping and development of community compost hubs.
  • Provision of area leaf dumps for composting leaves into mulch.
  • Scoping the development of a Centre dedicated to teaching Grow-Your-Own sustainable gardening and healthy eating and living within the City environs (comparable to Grow HQ in Waterford)
  • Support/facilitation of the creation of Outdoor Classrooms to ensure that understanding and access to nature are accessible to all citizens of Kilkenny.

Natural Habitats –  Newpark Fen

 

That Kilkenny County Council, in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, NGOs and appropriate community organisations, would explore an expanded conservation management plan for the Newpark Fen and explore the potential to incorporate the wet woodlands owned by Kilkenny College, with the aim of making the whole complex available to the public, initially for education purposes.

That Kilkenny County Council would explore the possibility of full public access to the whole site using the DAFM Neighbourhood funding scheme to expand the site and to procure the adjacent field at the north-east Corner for community tree planting.

 

Natural Habitats – River Nore

The River Nore is possibly Kilkenny’s most under-utilised natural asset. Sensitive development for recreational use is also a means of ensuring good water quality. It increases our attractiveness as a visitor destination and it promotes healthy citizenship. We ask that the following be considered:

  • Development of a Boat House and Jetty as a river amenity resource within the city.
  • Provision of additional boat slips offering controlled boat and kayak access
  • Provision of a white water and slalom kayaking amenity at Lacken Weir.
  • Opening up vistas of the river from the Bishops Meadows Linear Park in line with local residents wishes and provision of resting benches at these points where the river can be viewed and heard.

Natural Habitats – Rivers Bregagh and Pococke

The water quality of rivers Breagagh and Pococke has deteriorated considerably in recent years and urgently needs to be addressed. We ask that the following be considered:

  • That Kilkenny County Council establish Local River conservation groups with partners KKB, LAWPRO, NPWS, Nore Vision or River Trust and relevant land owners to proactively pursue and implement measures to restore Good Ecological Status.
  • That the restoration of Good Ecological Status be an imperative condition to be achieved prior to commencement of any riversite-associated residential development which would ensure quality natural and recreational amenities going forward.
  • That appropriate access to and from the rivers Bregagh and Pococke be developed.
  • That the feasibility of a Pocock riverside walkway from the Sion Rd to the Johnswell rd roundabout be explored for development.
  • That a survey and installation of attenuation ponds be undertaken to intercept runoff and silt running from the Ring Rd into the River Pococke currently causing ecological deterioration in that river.

Sustainable infrastructure

Transport

In order to ensure that Kilkenny is a city that is focused on the wellbeing, health and safety of its inhabitants into the future, we ask that Kilkenny County Council would follow the evidence-based international best practice of reducing car use and prioritising more sustainable forms of transport including the following:

  • Provision of more pedestrianised zones in the City Centre’s main shopping area and particularly in the Medieval core.
  • Provision of car-free zones at entry and exit points from all schools and amend parking bye laws appropriately.
  • Provision of more dedicated cycle lanes.
  • Provision of contraflow cycle lanes in one-way streets
  • Provision of adequate bicycle parking stands in all areas
  • Provision of more park and ride/cycle facilities at the outskirts of the city .
  • Creation of new cross-river cycle and pedestrian links.
  • Increase of electric Vehicle recharging points.
  • Scoping out the provision of pedestrian access along the eastern bank of the river from Greensbridge to Talbots Inch.

Sustainable tourism

In order to ensure that we remain an attractive visitor destination as well as a clean and healthy place for our citizens, we ask that Kilkenny County Council would address some of the principal causes of littering and waste to mitigate their effects on our environment, and consider the following:

  • To support, develop and promote festivals and markets with zero waste outcomes in Kilkenny.
  • To introduce composting bins in public areas where compostable food containers are used (particularly the Parade) as otherwise these containers go into landfill.
  • To adopt in principle that food packaging is a major cause of litter and waste, and to restrict provision and promotion of fast food containers and encourage provision of package-free food and sustainable alternatives at public festivals and events.
  • To provide more segregated recycling centres and incentivise aluminium and glass recycling.
  • To provide drinking fountains in the City which cuts down on plastic use.
  • To include tree planting and maximum biodiversity gain as an integral part of good street design.
  • To enforce current by-laws regarding dog fouling.
  • To consider the introduction of new dog fouling byelaws using DNA technology to identify dog owners who do not clean up.

Keep Kilkenny Beautiful

 

Kilkenny City tops IBAL for a record 5th time!

Keep Kilkenny Beautiful are very pleased with  announcement that for a record fifth time we’ve achieved No.1 in Ireland in the Ibal litter survey (Irish business against litter).

Praising Kilkenny in its report, An Taisce commented: “There is surely a lesson in this result for other towns – while the majority of towns have deteriorated during Covid, Kilkenny has been maintained in pristine condition.”  The High Street, River Nore Walk  and grounds of Kilkenny Castle were all “excellent with regard to not just litter, but overall presentation”. 

Congratulations to Kilkenny county council staff, local businesses,  community groups, resident associations and all our Keep Kilkenny Beautiful volunteers who have continued to work  under difficult conditions to keep Kilkenny beautiful.

Kilkenny:  1st out of 37 towns / cities surveyed.  Cleaner than European Norms. 

 

There is surely a lesson in this result for other towns – while the majority of towns have deteriorated during Covid, Kilkenny has been maintained in pristine condition.  All approach routes were top ranking and created a positive first impression of the town – this high standard was sustained for almost all of the remaining sites and there were no seriously littered sites.  With so many top-rankingsites, special mention.  High Street, Upper and Lower John Street, River Nore River Walk (behind Kilkenny Castle) and the grounds of Kilkenny Castle Park – all were excellent with regard to not just litter, but overall presentation and maintenance. 

R712 Dublin Road Approach:  Grade A.  Cycle / pedestrian paths were in good order and the overall impression created along this road was a very good one, creating a positive first impression of Kilkenny – this very high standard was maintained for almost all of the remaining sites surveyed.

Upper and Lower John Street:  Grade A.  A long stretch of shopping street which scored very well with regard to litter.  Newly laid road surface created a very fresh impression.  Clearly a close eye is kept on the derelict / closed down premises as there was no litter directly associated with them.  Some shop fronts were attractively presented, really adding to the streetscape e.g., Billy Byrnes, Langton’s and an ‘olde’ style food deli.

Kilkenny Castle Park:  Grade A.An expansive area – such a wonderful resource – beautifully managed with a complete absence of litter throughout. All aspects of the area surveyed were in very good condition e.g., playground, seating, signage.

River Nore:  Grade A.Area surveyed was from John Bridge, along the pedestrian route to the rear of Kilkenny Castle.  The attractively laid out area at the beginning of this walk was very fresh in appearance with sculpture, items of historical interest, seating, bins etc. – all in excellent order.  There was a complete absence of litter on this long stretch of riverwalk – a credit to the users.

High Street:  Grade A.A lovely streetscape, excellent with regard to litter and all aspects of the area surveyed in very good conditione.g., paving, seating, planting, visitor information notices, street bins etc.  The individual shop fronts were very well presented with very few closed down / vacant outlets, compared to other towns / cities throughout the country.

Market Yard Car Park:  Grade B+.An extensive street level car park, mostly good with regard to litter, but some items were impossible to ignore e.g., face masks, plastic gloves and some loose food related litter e.g., cans, plastic bottles.

Bring Centre at St. Canice’s:  Grade A.A small facility, all aspects in very good condition and no litter associated with it.  Signage was clear, legible and in good order.

Kilkenny Ring Road:  Grade A.  (From garage at Dean Street to Castlecomer New Road)  The built environment was in excellent order and the grass area was in good condition – there was no visible litter along this expansive stretch of road.

Ormonde Retail Park:  Grade B+.Plastic wrapping was the most obvious item with some food related litter (e.g., plastic bottles and coffee cups) in the low-lying shrubbery.  Not much effort is required for this to be a top-ranking site.

Carlow – Kilkenny Link Road:  Grade A.An excellent route in both directions, in terms of both presentation and litter.

 

 

 

Kilkenny City No.1 in National IBAL 2020 litter survey

KKB are very proud of the success of the work of our volunteers undertaken this year in difficult circumstances. We also recognise  athe excellent work being done in conjunction with Kilkenny County Council,  resident associations, local businesses  and voluntary groups over the last number of months.

The  result of this hard work can be seen through out our city.

Saturday morning team out Keeping Kilkenny Beautiful

 

 

 

Castle Park is a great space to recreate in

Kilkenny: 1st out of 40 towns / cities surveyed. Cleaner than European Norms.

Again Kilkenny comes up shining! It wasn’t just the following sites which consistently scored so well, but even the series of interconnecting laneways between the streets and medieval area were excellent – this is often not the case in other towns / cities throughout the country. Among many top-ranking sites, a few deserve a special mention e.g. Kilkenny Castle Park and Rose Garden (a wonderful resource which was clear of litter throughout), Abbey Square Car Park (not just a functional car park, but attractively presented with planting around the perimeter) and High Street – an exceptionally clean and well presented shopping environment.

Medieval Mile Museum: Grade A. The grounds of this museum were devoid of all litter. Bins, seating areas, signage etc. were in excellent condition. Grounds were suitably maintained for such an historic site.

Kilkenny Castle Park and Rose Garden: Grade A. The extensive grounds of Kilkenny Castle were in excellent order – not just very good with regard to litter but very well maintained – a credit to the users and those responsible for the maintenance. Lovely signage e.g. Ecology of an Oak Tree, Kilkenny Park Run Trail, sculptures, seating, bins etc. all create a very positive impression. Temporary outdoor café area and water feature in the Rose Garden were also clear of litter.

N77 Approach from Athy: Grade A. A clean and tidy approach to Kilkenny, creating a positive first impression of the town – this very high standard was maintained for virtually all the remaining sites surveyed.

R693 Approach from Thurles: Grade A. There were no visible litter along this route and colourful planting close to the ‘Welcome to Kilkenny’ signage was a nice feature.

Bring Centre at St. Canice’s Car Park: Grade B+. The clothing and bottle / can bin unit were clean and fresh and large, clear signage was in good order. Bottle caps, broken glass and loose litter items were around the base and to the side and rear of the bin units.

Abbey Square Car Park: Grade A. A lovely town centre car park with road surface / markings in very good order and colourful surrounding planting. Signage relating to the car park was in excellent order – it was excellent with regard to litter.

High Street: Grade A. A long stretch of shopping street which was consistently clear of litter throughout. It wasn’t just the lack of litter which created such a good impression but the overall presentation of the street e.g. paving, abundant and colourful hanging baskets, bins in excellent condition, wooden seating, bollards etc. A top-ranking site throughout.

Banks of River Nore: Grade A. (from St. John’s Bridge to pedestrianised bridge). A lovely riverside environment with seating, paving, grassy picnic area etc, very well presented and maintained. There were no visible litter issues in the water or along the banks of the river. The pedestrianised bridge was lined with colourful planting.

Upper and Lower John Street: Grade A. There was a virtual absence of litter along the stretch of both Upper and Lower John Street. ‘Keep Kilkenny Litter Free’ signage on the paving was very discreet.

M9-N10 Carlow – Kilkenny Link Road: Grade A. There were no litter issues along this route, in either direction.

Dublin road approach to our city

River Nore and Kilkenny Castle from the Dublin road viewing point

Maintenance work is ongoing in the many community orchards throughout our city

Black abbey square with autumn colour

James green park in the City centre

last of the summer colour raises spirits

clean up and invasive specie removal on the river Breagadh, a beautiful vantage point from under the bridge

The Pear harvest s in full swing

Study of our oak tree leaves with ring gallls

 

Winter planting and cleanups

This is the time of year for bare root planting of trees and bushes,  planting winter bedding plants,  being cruel to be kind with the trimming of bushes,moving / dividing plants around,  annual cuting of wild flower areas, removing hard to get at  blown  non biodegradable plastic from under bushes and hedges (it’s about time that  25c is put on every plastic bottle, can , coffee cup etc  so that they have a value)  and countless other jobs…..

planning the next projects with St Kierans TY tidytowns

River Breagagh runs higher again

cleaning

Planting

New mural with a busy bee

bee friendly whitethorn planting under way ….

winter berries

St Kieran’s Ty students lend a hand!

it goes on ….

River Nore top of class in IBAL 2019 report

Good news received in relation to the river Nore. Kilkenny is top of Class  with “Clean to European norms”. this is an excellent result for Kilkenny in the IBAL river review.

Citation:-

River Nore – Kilkenny: This was an excellent site in terms of overall presentation and litter. There was a virtual absence of litter throughout the area surveyed and this was particularly good considering the high numbers of people. Evidence of cleaning at time of survey. Kilkenny River Nore (Kilkenny) – Clean to European norms

KKB are very proud of the success of the work along the River undertaken this year.

This success reflects on  the   excellent work being  undertaken in conjunction with the Kilkenny Sub Aqua Club, Kilkenny aqua canoe club, Dragon boats, Kilkenny county council and other groups

Pat Durkin of Birdwatch and Pat Boyd biodiversity officer KKB lead Heritage week Water Heritage day nature walk on Canal walk

Pat Durkin of Birdwatch and Pat Boyd biodiversity officer KKB lead Heritage week Water heritage day nature walk on Canal walk

River Nore from Peace park

Nore Dragon Paddlers on river Nore

River Nore at Canal Square

Lions Club Youth Exchange Participants keep Kilkenny beautiful

A large group of Lions Club youth exchange participants joined with Keep Kilkenny Beautiful and Kilkenny Lions club to undertake a summer cleanup right around the city this Saturday morning. The group came to visit Kilkenny for the day and spent the morning with Keep Kilkenny Beautiful assisting on our regular 10 AM Saturday morning clean up.

 

 

 

The group who have come from all over Europe are spending two weeks in Ireland. They are assisting voluntary groups in various projects in the south-east.

Following our recent No.1 place in Ireland in the IBAL national anti litter competition, Kilkenny is looking really well  and congratulations to all who are assisting in keeping Kilkenny beautiful.

TidyTowns judges are currently judging cities and towns throughout Ireland and it is important that we  keep Kilkenny looking it’s best during the summer. Volunteers or groups who would like to assist can contact our KKB  secretary at 086-1687553 or mail@keepkilkennybeautiful.com

Kileknny City IBAL top spot No.1 2019

Kilkenny received the top spot in this 1st round for 2019.

A  very big effort has been made throughout the first 6 months of 2019 to keep Kilkenny litter free and to improve our city’s presentation. There are regular KKB clean ups and improvement works which supplement the extensive work undertaken by Kilkenny Co Co , our many resident associations and local volunteers throughout Kilkenny.

 

We were thrilled that the bring bank at St Canices church car park was found by the adjudicator to be so much better following the renovation work undertaken by Kilkenny Co Co over the last few months. We have been monitoring this location on an ongoing basis as it is very heavily used and the recycle bins fill up quickly. KKB did a clean up in this area last Saturday and ongoing vigilance is required.

The Judges also found the Kells road R697, Dublin road R712 and also the N10 motorway link road in good condition, all of which are regularly checked by KKB to keep them in good condition.

Kilkenny county council must be congratulated for their work on Parliament street and the other street improvements underway currently.

During 2019 many premises in the City have redecorated their buildings. Keep Kilkenny Beautiful continue to encourage premises owners to maintain and decorate the premises.

For anyone who wishes to assist with volunteering they can contact us at mail@keepkilkennybeautiful.com see our website at keepkilkennybeautiful.com or call our secretary at 086-1687553

 

An Taisce Report – IBAL Anti-Litter League, Round 1, 2019

Kilkenny: 1st out of 40 Towns / Cities Surveyed. Cleaner than European Norms.

Kilkenny returns to a place it has been many times – the top of the IBAL table. The entire area was pristine but some top-ranking sites deserve special mention. The Pedestrian Bridge / River Bank was a lovely riverside environment which was wonderfully presented and maintained. Parliament Street was attractively laid out and scored very well with regard to litter. Market Cross (Pedestrianised shopping mall) was very fresh in terms of presentation and litter. The design of the ‘Bring Bank’ at St. Canice’s was such that there were few opportunities for ‘stuffing’ items between, beneath and behind the recycle units.

R712 Approach Road: Grade A. A well presented route, creating a positive first impression of Kilkenny. Road surface, signage and markings were in good order and it scored well with regard to litter.

Kilkenny Train Station – Exterior: Grade A. The exterior of the train station presented well with flower beds and built environment in good order. It got the top litter grade, but only just. Cigarette butts were noticeable in the flower beds – this needs to be addressed to prevent further build-up. The remainder of the area was very good.

Kilkenny Train Station – Interior: Grade A. All aspects of the interior of the station were in very good condition and fresh in appearance e.g. tiled flooring, seating, bins and signage. There was a complete absence of litter. The industrial ‘blue’ bin was very full / overflowing, potentially causing a litter situation.

Pedestrian Bridge / River Bank: Grade A. This riverside environment has been wonderfully presented and maintained. Grass banks, paving, bin, life-belt, etc. were in very good condition. There was a virtual absence of litter throughout the area surveyed.

Parliament Street: Grade A. As a main shopping street this was beautifully laid out with attractive paving and seating creating an opportunity for relaxing. The overall impression created along Parliament Street was a positive one with regard to presentation and litter. It is very well served by litter bins.

Vacant site – formerly Cheri Lee: Grade A. (on Parliament Street, opposite New Building Lane) This red brick mid-terrace building is no longer operating. It got the top litter grade, but only just, with a virtual absence of litter. It could easily slide to a littered status. The paint / woodwork were decaying.

‘Bring Centre’ at St. Canice’s: Grade A. The design / layout of this facility presents very well, leaving little opportunity for the ‘stuffing’ of items that so regularly happens elsewhere throughout the country. Overall, it was very much deserving of the top litter grade.

Market Cross, Shopping Mall: Grade A.The paving at this pedestrianised shopping area created an artistic effect and the area was enhanced by some large planter boxes. All aspects of the area surveyed were in very good order e.g. seating, bins, planted areas, signage etc.. It was excellent with regard to litter.

R697 Approach Road: Grade A. There was a complete absence of litter along this stretch of road.

M9 – N10 Link Road to Carlow: Grade A. The overall impression created along this route was a clean one with no visible litter issues.