SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

 
PRESS RELEASE

For Release 6/5/2008

A public march in support of the innovative Meath MASTER Plan will take place on Saturday May 17th 2008 at 3pm.

Participants are asked to meet at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, and the march will proceed to Dail Eireann, where there will be speeches, music and a presentation of the Plan to government officials.

The MASTER (Model Archaeological and Sustainable Economic Region) Plan is an advanced development plan that solves the current legal, environmental and heritage issues around the controversial M3 motorway, and also provides a wider model for sustainable economic, heritage and tourism development in Meath.

A key goal of the Plan is to enable Meath people to work in their locality, reduce their dependence on long-distance commuting to Dublin, and consequently allow them to spend more time with their families and within their community.

A second goal is to reduce Meath's CO2 emissions and its reliance on oil use for transport and energy, and to regenerate the local economy and communities of the region. Reduced oil use would lead to much lower costs in the future for both families and businesses in Meath. The promoters of the Plan stress this should be a national priority at a time when the oil price is close to $120 per barrel and has increased by over 500% since 2002.

The MASTER Plan objectives would be achieved via the creation of a community transport network to include a toll-free 2+1 road, and rail and coach services that facilitate easy travel throughout Meath, together with the creation of a UNESCO Meath World Heritage Park to generate tourism revenue, preserve the unique value of Meath's heritage sites and demonstrate the importance of sustainable living.

The Plan avoids re-routing the M3 as it uses much of the current road scheme "footprint" and switches to the existing N3 in the sensitive Tara-Skryne Valley area whilst still providing bypasses of Dunshaughlin and Navan. Land within the Tara-Skryne Valley purchased for the M3 would be held in state ownership and designated for heritage interpretation and protection.

The modified road scheme would also save significant costs for commuters and businesses as it would be toll-free, since the reduced cost of the 2+1 road format allows for buy-out of the PPP contract.

The Plan additionally implements the long-sought rail link to Navan and Kells, and provides for new coach services, creating a cost-effective, sustainable and reliable community transport network that would break dependency on long-distance commuting, encourage local job creation and dramatically improve quality of life for those living in the region.

The coach and rail alternatives would help reduce traffic volumes on the modified M3 by up to two-thirds, and the capital costs involved are approx. € 300 million less than current Government proposals.

The parallel designation of the region as a UNESCO World Heritage site would result in the preservation, protection and sustainable management of the archaeology in the Tara-Skryne Valley and surrounding areas. The extent of the World Heritage site would encompass the five major centres of Navan, Kells, Trim, Dunshaughlin and Slane, bringing a major tourist and economic dividend for the region with a potential increase of €75 million in tourism revenue per annum.

Co-authors of the Meath MASTER Plan, environmental campaigner Tadhg Crowley and transport researcher Brian Guckian, stated: "The Meath MASTER Plan is a huge opportunity to be grasped, with very significant economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits. It is something that everyone can have ownership of, and our message is that there is a solution, and that it can be implemented right now".

The proposal is currently with government and has received strong backing from the public and from across the political spectrum.

Guest speakers at the march will outline what the Plan means to them and the event will be a positive and constructive chance to engage with the issues involved, according to the organisers.

ENDS

For details on the arrangements for the Meath MASTER Plan March, please contact:

Terri Murray
terricath@hotmail.com

For details on the content of the Meath MASTER Plan, please contact:

Brian Guckian
railprojects@eircom.net

Tadhg Crowley
tadhgcrowley@gmail.com

posters and fliers for the Gathering  - downloadable HERE