Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Social Base: Public Utilities
The provision of utilities within Fermanagh is the responsibility of a number of Government Departments, the District Council, statutory bodies and the private sector. The main services are transport, water and sewerage, waste disposal, electricity and telecommunications.
Fermanagh has a dispersed settlement pattern with a relatively low population density. Many people therefore live significant distances away from services, facilities and their place of employment and tend to rely predominantly on the car for day to day transportation needs. Consequently car ownership rates in Fermanagh are higher than the Northern Ireland average. The 1991 census indicated that 72% of households possessed at least one car (compared with 64% Northern Ireland average). Nevertheless 28% of households remain without a car and many people in car owning households do not have access to a vehicle during the day. This can result in isolation, particularly in the rural area, and affects those groups least able to provide for themselves i.e. the elderly, the infirm, young mothers and the unemployed. These groups generally tend to be the most dependant on public transport. In Fermanagh therefore both public transport provision and the quality of the rural road network are of more than usual significance. In addition the extent and standard of local transport facilities have an affect on the area's attractiveness both for commercial development and tourism.
The Department is responsible for the provision and maintenance of the public highway network. The Protected Route network in the District consists of :
- the Fivemiletown/Enniskillen/Belcoo Road (T6/A4),
- the Enniskillen/lrvinestown/Omagh Road (T1 0/A32),
- the Enniskillen/Derrylin/Belturbet Road (A509)
- and the Maguiresbridge/Clones Road (A34).
The Department's policy is to minimise the number of new accesses onto these routes. Access to development areas should be taken from the minor road network where practicable and in appropriate circumstances the Department may require developers to contribute to the improvement of the minor road or its junction with a Protected Route.
Public transport provision in Fermanagh is principally the responsibility of Ulsterbus who operate both local and express services. These are supplemented by school bus services, private operators and Bus Eireann. A recent innovation has been the operation of a "post bus" service introduced by the Royal Mail on the Tempo to Enniskillen route, the first such service in Northern Ireland. The Department recognises the importance of improving rural public transport and would encourage further innovative schemes which are compatible with the principles set out in the Department's document "Transportation in Northern Ireland, The Way Forward". Local development groups may wish to consider the feasibility of community transport schemes.
Enniskillen Airport, St Angelo, owned and operated by Fermanagh District Council, on the outskirts of the town provides regional airport facilities which have the potential to develop further to the economic benefit of the District.
The abstraction, treatment and supply of drinking water together with sewage treatment are the responsibility of the Department's Water Service. In order to meet new EC regulations regarding water quality, a significant amount of capital is being invested to improve the existing system in Fermanagh. Water supply which is drawn from a number of sources throughout the District is currently being rationalised to an enlarged Water Treatment Plant at Killyhevlin, whilst the plant at Belleek is to be retained and improved. Sewage Treatment Plants service most towns and villages in Fermanagh and during the life of the Plan upgrading and extension works will be undertaken through the Water Service Capital Works Programme.
The Rivers Agency of the Department of Agriculture, is responsible for drainage and will be consulted in relation to the following aspects of applications for development: susceptibility of land to flooding, discharge of storm water to water courses and requirements with regard to designated watercourses. Storm water from within areas zoned for development in the Plan can generally be accommodated by existing watercourse systems, subject to approval of discharge points. However, in some cases offsite drainage infrastructure improvement works may be required in advance of development and could lead to delay in issue of planning approval.