Re: Re: Re: Decentralisation – the end…?
Originally published by An Taisce
An Taisce Statement on Decentralisation
Decentralisation is the opportunity for the Government to showcase sustainable building techniques commended in their own policy documents, said a spokesman from An Taisce.
An Taisce recently issued a statement addressed to the Decentralisation Implementation Committee and Office of Public Works asking that all new developments undertaken by the Government to locate public servants outside of Dublin be built in accordance with best practice in line with the Commission of the European Communities communication â€˜Towards a thematic strategy on the urban environment.â€™ Responding to the Report of the Decentralisation Implementation Group published on the 7th of April, the document stresses the importance of ensuring that sustainability criteria are considered in all decisions regarding accommodation.
The statement expresses concern that the decentralisation programme as announced fails to support strategic national spatial planning and may have negative implications in relation to the investment in infrastructure and services in Gateways and Hubs, as suggested by the submission by the presidents of the engineering, planning and architectural professional bodies. However, An Taisce confirms their support for the Governmentâ€™s commitment to decentralisation subject to assurances that, in terms of location, the reuse of older buildings, the construction of new buildings and the provision of attendant housing and social infrastructure, the most socially, economically and environmentally sustainable options are chosen.
The statement quotes from the Governments own â€˜Guidelines on Architectural Heritage Protectionâ€™ on the importance of encapsulating the value of retaining old buildings as, for example in Ballihadreen where a government unit has already been relocated into an old convent, and refers to many underused institutional buildings in some of the towns nominated for decentralisation.
Where no appropriate building already exists sites should be located close to town centres taking into account the need to minimise the growth in traffic, a key imperative in all recent government policies.
Most importantly new buildings associated with the decentralisation programme offer the opportunity to show-case sustainable construction and energy conservation as proposed in the Sustainable Development Strategy 1997 which states that new development should minimise artificial lighting, heating and mechanical ventilation, should avoid air conditioning, conserve water, use the site and material wisely and recycle where possible. Building Regulations are currently being updated to meet European standards to encompass new insulation and energy ratings and Government research into new procurement methods can be tested and developed.
Once buildings have been constructed or converted there are further procedures that are needed to reach agreed standards of sustainable development such as mobility strategies. The statement also refers to associated housing provision and social services as part of sustainable development, in particular the need to encourage staff to live in the towns where they may contribute to the existing community and possibly make improvements to the social infrastructure more viable.
I suppose they could decentralise the 20% who want to go, to locations highlighted by the NSS in the type of buildings described above, or contemporary buildings only of a high architectural quality . I believe FF/PD lost 25% of their Councillors in the recipient constituencies during the local election.