Tourism, Sport & Leisure
2017 was another record-breaking year for overseas tourism to Ireland, with almost 10 million people arriving here – an increase of almost +4%, or 347,700 additional overseas visitors, when compared with 2016. Tourism and Faílte Ireland’s various campaigns are in full swing, to build on the success of 2017. Their aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2018 by +5%, to €6 billion, for the island of Ireland. Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Local Authorities and the local tourism trade are developing new tourism initiatives, enhancing existing tourism infrastructure and ensuring an acceptable standard of environment for locals and visitors in tourism areas.
Quite often the traditional Irish tourist trails are intrinsically sensitive sites from an environmental, landscape, archaeological and ecological perspective and so careful design is crucial to ensure that future growth is sustainably developed. MKO have contributed to various developments in differing environmental settings from coastal projects in Co Kerry to greenway and blueway through inland waterways in Leinster and can bring that breath of experience to future developments.
The expansion of sport and leisure opportunities over the past number of years is expected to continue to ensure that these recreational facilities and public spaces are provided to meet the needs of local communities and tourists alike. MKO have been involved in the design, planning and assessment of various amenity projects nationally and can bring our learned experiences to future projects. Interestingly, the incorporation of amenity proposals into general development projects such as but not limited to wind farms and other development projects may also offer a novel way of providing community benefits and increase levels of local acceptance.
Tourism, Sport & Leisure – Key Services
We manage the entire planning permission application process, or provide key inputs and planning advice. From advice at the pre-planning stage, through to preparing and managing the planning application or responding to further information requests, we help applicants or their project teams navigate a project through the planning process.
We can either lead the planning-phase design team or are equally happy to play out part as a team member. Our most experienced planners lead the consultations with the Planning Authorities, from the initial concept feasibility discussions right through to agreeing pre-commencement compliance requirements.
When planning expertise is required to formulate a planning strategy or masterplan, we develop practical proposals that balance community and commercial interests. The ideas and approaches we propose are influenced by the experience gained on thousands of projects.
We use current policy as a guide but not a limitation, as we consider an area’s future needs and our client’s requirements. Where necessary, we coordinate inputs of other professionals in areas such as transport planning, urban design, services engineering and landscape architecture, to maximize the potential of the vision we develop along with our clients.
The planning-led feasibility studies we produce consider the opportunities, risks and constraints associated with any given site. This usually involves environmental, ecological and other inputs from our other in-house teams and specialists, to provide a fully informed view of what will be required to identify opportunities or secure planning permission for a site or project.
Where necessary, they can also include inputs from property, urban design and other technical specialists. Our feasibility studies can be focused on a particular type of project, or can consider and help identify opportunities for appropriate uses where a specific end use has to be identified, and are regularly used to market a site to prospective users or other interested parties, and build confidence in the merits of a site.
They are also written to be practical and aware of the need to implement design and mitigation measures during a project’s construction/operation phase. We project manage client, design team and specialist inputs, and meet our client’s deadlines. Our EIA experience spans every industry sector. Projects and clients benefit from the combined experience of all our company’s staff, who have refined our EIA knowledge and practices over decades of work in this field.
The requirements of the EU habitats directive are well known to us, and we prepare Appropriate Assessment Screening Reports (AASR) as Stage 1 assessment/reports or Natura Impact Statements (NIS) as Stage 2 assessment/reports.
Our expert knowledge of the requirements, pitfalls and nuances of habitats directive assessments has been honed by completing many hundred such assessments/reports over the last decade. Our knowledge of the planning system, makes us acutely aware of the planning implications of conducting a Stage 2 assessment for developments that otherwise would not require planning permission. Given our experience, we can advise clients very quickly on whether a Stage 1 “screening” will suffice of whether a full Stage 2 “assessment” is required.
They can be targeted at a specific ecological subject matter of relevance, or span the full spectrum of ecology, from terrestrial habitats, flora and fauna, to freshwater, marine and avian ecology. Our EcIA are solutions-focused, proposing ways to mitigate potential impacts rather than just identify problems. Our clients benefit from the EcIA experience we bring to their projects, from having worked on some of the country’s largest infrastructure projects.