Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Introduction: Strategy, Policies & Proposals
The Plan will promote the concept of sustainable development in Fermanagh based on the belief that conservation and development are not mutually exclusive alternatives, but differing interests which must be reconciled. The concept of sustainable development has been endorsed by the United Kingdom Government in various international agreements and conventions. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, "the Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro 1992, produced the Rio Declaration which comprised a statement of principles addressing the need to integrate protection of the environment with sustainable development.
The Government's White Paper on the Environment "This Common Inheritance" 1990 stated that :-
"We have a moral duty to look after our planet and hand it on in good order to future generations. That does not mean trying to halt economic growth. We need growth to give us the means to live better and healthier lives. Technological development can help us to clean up our surroundings. But growth has to respect the environment and it must be soundly based so that it can last. That is what is meant by sustainable development. We must not sacrifice our future well-being for short term gains, nor pile up environmental debts which will burden our children."
Sustainable development was a guiding principle in the formulation of the Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland and in the recent publication by the Department of the Environment and the Department of Economic Development entitled "Growing a Green Economy". This latter publication seeks to integrate the strategies for the environment and economic development in Northern Ireland.
In supporting sustainable development, the Department has no wish to halt development, but rather to promote development at the right time and in the right place. This will require an appreciation of our natural, man-made and cultural resources to ensure that development neither degrades nor irreversibly damages them.
The Plan Strategy for Fermanagh therefore seeks to integrate conservation and development through a mix of coordinated economic, environmental and social measures.
Economy: The economic measures include: support for agricultural diversification and the selective development of the tourism sector as the best prospect for economic growth and employment creation, encouragement of industrial growth by providing for the appropriate expansion of existing firms as well as accommodating potential new inward investment, promotion of the role of community driven economic regeneration schemes and a flexible response to small rural projects, support for renewable energy initiatives and the appropriate exploitation of mineral reserves.
Environment: Environmental measures include: the protection of areas and features of intrinsic conservation, wildlife, landscape, archaeological, historical or architectural value, especially those particularly vulnerable or subject to considerable development pressure, and the promotion of high standards of design, siting and landscaping for all development.
Social Base: Measures include: facilitating flexibility and choice in location of development within the existing dispersed settlement pattern of Fermanagh, which will encourage a wide distribution of housing and industry and promote the retention and possible improvement of associated services both private and public. In the case of public services these may be constrained by the availability of resources. Enniskillen will continue to be the main focus for major development in Fermanagh but growth will also be accommodated in rural settlements and in the countryside.
The policies and proposals of the Fermanagh Area Plan are as set out below.