449. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the strategic development zone around lands at Ireland West Airport, Knock; if development is restricted to the aviation industry only; if so, the reason therefor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18762/18 asked on 01 May 2018)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): On 30 May 2017, the Government designated 284 hectares lands at Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) under Section 166 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

As outlined in the SDZ Designation Order, the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Designation of Strategic Development Zone: Ireland West Airport Knock) Order 2017, developments within the SDZ may include:

(a) commercial activities, including the development of infrastructure to support aviation including air cargo logistics facilities, aircraft hangars, maintenance and repair facilities, and airline and flight services,

(b) the provision of hotel and conference facilities,

(c) the development of any commercial or employment activity that, in the opinion of Mayo County Council, having regard to the proper planning and sustainable development of its local authority area, requires to be located within the SDZ and cannot be reasonably accommodated at any other location elsewhere in County Mayo, outside of the SDZ, or in the area of any of the other local authorities in the Northern and Western Regional Assembly Area, and

(d) the provision of supporting transport infrastructure.

The Order is available at the following link: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/si/266/made/en/print.

Consideration of the SDZ designation for IWAK was focused on maximising certainty in planning for development related to air services and supporting infrastructure, including development coupled to ancillary economic development opportunities drawn to this location that would not otherwise be drawn to other city/urban locations in the wider Northern and Western Regional Assembly region, such as Galway, Sligo or nearby towns. In this regard, while supporting appropriate economic development related to air services, the SDZ designation must ensure that any further commercial/enterprise uses be focused on those linked to the IWAK access role as an air transportation hub for the region. The designation must also focus economic/employment developments on proposals requiring an airport-related location and which cannot be located elsewhere.

It is understood that the specified development agency, in this case Mayo County Council, has commenced the preparation of a draft planning scheme in respect of the site, which is required to be prepared within two years of the date of the Order.