What is the Project?
Donegal County Council with the support of Transport Infrastructure Ireland is working to provide commuters and leisure cyclists with a corridor linking the town of Donegal to the towns of Ballybofey/Stranorlar in South County Donegal.
The Barnesmore Gap Greenway project will seek to provide both long and short-distance recreational users and commuters with safe, convenient opportunities to travel along the route. It is anticipated that the provision of a greenway in this location will provide enhanced access to the wider region, enticing users to explore its surrounding towns and villages and further develop the untapped tourism potential within the region.
What is a Greenway?
The Department of Transport’s Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways describes a Greenway is an attractive trail mainly used for recreational purposes by pedestrians, cyclists and people with impaired mobility, and as such promotes physical activity for these users.
The popularity of recently opened Greenways throughout Ireland demonstrates the many benefits that they can promote, including the provision of safe, substantially segregated walking and cycling infrastructure that makes it easier to visit friends, travel to school or work and to connect villages and towns.
On a wider scale, Greenways are providing opportunities to experience Ireland’s beautiful countryside for both visitors and locals alike, contributing to Ireland’s health and wellbeing, enhancing local communities with opportunities for new and existing businesses, and offering sustainable alternatives for tourists and locals to access a hidden Ireland.
How can the public participate?
Will this project affect the planning application process in the area?
How will land be acquired?
Where private land acquisition is necessary following the selection of the preferred route corridor, the project promoter will engage with individual landowners in an effort to agree upon a route that minimises the impact on their respective farm / property holdings and enter into Voluntary Land Acquisition Agreements where possible. The process of agreeing upon Voluntary Land Acquisition Agreements will be initiated in advance of an application for planning consent.
For further guidance and information, please refer to the recently published (December 2021) Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways and associated Greenway Sustainability Payment documents which can be accessed here.