07. Infrastructure

Closed23 Dec, 2020, 9:00am - 16 Mar, 2021, 4:00pm


7.1   Strategic Aim 

The strategic aim of this chapter is to protect, improve and provide water, wastewater, surface water and flood alleviation services throughout the county, and to facilitate the provision of high quality information communication technology, broadband, telecommunication information and electricity network required to support and enhance the key aims of best place to live, work, visit and invest.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals

Related UN Sustainable Goals

Related NPF National Strategic Outcomes

Related NPF National Strategic Outcomes

Related RSES Regional Growth Ambitions

Related RSES Regional Growth Ambitions

7.2   Introduction

This chapter has been guided by the above strategic aim, sustainable development goals and national strategic objectives to develop and further enhance all forms of infrastructure within County Mayo. It is also informed by The Mayo Co. Council Corporate Plan 2019-2024 and the relevant infrastructural aims contained therein.  The chapter has also considered the key legislative and policy documents set out in Appendix III, including the NPF and RSES for the Northern and Western region.

7.3   National and Regional Position

The NPF and RSES acknowledge the importance of sustainably managing our water, waste and other environmental infrastructural resources to secure the environmental and economic well-being of our future. The NPF and RSES also recognise the critical need for investment in infrastructure in order to accommodate the future projected population and economic growth envisaged to 2040. The NPF seeks to promote balanced, regional development throughout Ireland, with enhanced regional accessibility being a co-priority of the framework. This national priority is further underpinned within the RSES, which acknowledges that the provision of prudently managed, critically enabling infrastructure is key to delivering a connected, vibrant, inclusive, resilient and smart region. Growth Ambition 3 (Connected Region) of the RSES also supports the delivery of digital infrastructure such as a high-quality ICT network and delivery of the National Broadband Plan assisting in the creation of balanced regional development.

7.4   Mayo Context

The sustainable socio-economic growth of the county is dependent on the provision of essential infrastructure to ensure the delivery of a high-quality, reliable service provision.  A key principle of this Strategy is to provide planned growth which will direct infrastructural investment where it is most needed.  Infrastructural provision retains and attracts economic investment and employment, creates sustainable communities and supports the future development of the county. The Council, in conjunction with other agencies and authorities seek to ensure that development of infrastructural services occurs in tandem with and facilitates physical development, in order to safeguard the continued economic growth of the county and the delivery of residential accommodation for the growing population.  One of the key challenges is the ability to address and keep pace with the infrastructural demands of a growing county while safeguarding public health and managing the protection of key environmental resources, all in the context of a changing climate.

7.4.1   Drinking Water and Wastewater

Irish Water replaced Local Authorities as the single provider of water and wastewater services in 2014. Irish Water is responsible for the operation of public water and wastewater services nationally, including strategic planning, policy development, service provision, customer service and capital investment planning and delivery. Mayo County Council retains its role in facilitating the provision of adequate water services, in conjunction with Irish Water, at a local level, through Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Mayo County Council will continue to work closely with Irish Water to facilitate the timely provision of water services infrastructure within the county in line with Council’s Core Strategy and Settlement Strategy.

Irish Water is also responsible for the public water schemes in the county, while Mayo County Council is responsible for the implementation of the Rural Water Programme. This involves regulating, monitoring and administering subsidies for Group Water Schemes and grants to householders for potable private wells.

Irish Water is responsible for the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater, where public wastewater facilities exist in towns and villages. Wastewater treatment (Irish Water assets) is provided through thirty-two wastewater treatment plants within the county. There are two additional treatment plants due for completion over the plan period in Killala (2020) and Newport (2024). There are also two villages in Mayo where Irish Water wastewater treatment plants have been constructed but not commissioned (The Neale & Cross). In unserviced areas and outside the main towns and villages, the main method of sewage disposal is by means of individual septic tanks and proprietary wastewater treatment systems. Mayo County Council is the competent authority for the assessment and approval of individual domestic on-site wastewater treatment systems in the county.

Drinking Water Policies


To liaise and work in conjunction with Irish Water in the delivery of an adequate level of water services infrastructure through the Capital Investment Plan 2017-2021 and Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 and any subsequent plans or programmes, to ensure that a sufficient water supply is available for the settlements set out in the County Settlement Hierarchy.


To liaise and work in conjunction with Irish Water to promote the sustainable development of water supplies and drainage infrastructure in the county and the region, in accordance with the objectives and recommendations set out in the Irish Water’s Water Services Strategic Plan.

INP  3

To liaise with Irish Water to develop and implement Water Safety Plans to protect sources of public water supply and their contributing catchment.

Drinking Water Objectives


To implement the Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 and any subsequent plans.


To provide guidance and advice regarding the protection of water supply to private wells with the overall responsibility for protection remaining with the householder.


To ensure that any new development connects to a public water supply or Group Water Scheme, where available. Connections to wells for individual housing units in unserviced rural areas will only be considered where there is no public water main or Group Water Scheme serving the site and where it can be demonstrated that connection to the proposed well will not have significant adverse effects on water quality or water quantity in the area and can provide a potable water supply in accordance with EU Drinking Water standards.


To advance key Capital Projects as outlined in the 5-year Capital Programme.


To support and facilitate key upgrades to the Achill water supply and the provision of drinking water in the Murrisk area.


To support and facilitate upgrades to the water schemes listed in Table 7.1 below.

Wastewater Policies

INP  4

To liaise and work in conjunction with Irish Water in the delivery of an adequate level of wastewater services infrastructure to ensure that sufficient wastewater infrastructure/capacity is available for the settlements set out in the County Settlement Hierarchy, including supporting and facilitating the identified wastewater projects listed in Table 7.1 below.


To collaborate with Irish Water in contributing towards compliance with the relevant provisions of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations 2001 and 2004 and the Wastewater Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 as amended.


To encourage and support a changeover from septic tanks/private wastewater treatment plants to public collection networks wherever feasible, subject to connection agreements with Irish Water and to ensure that any future development connects to the public wastewater infrastructure where it is available.

Wastewater Objectives


To require development in serviced areas to connect to the public foul sewer network, where available.


To require development in unsewered areas which includes a septic tank/proprietary effluent treatment unit and percolation area to be rigorously assessed in accordance with the accepted EPA Code of Practice Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems Serving Single Houses or  the EPA Wastewater Treatment Manuals Treatment Systems for Small Communities, Business, Leisure Centres and Hotels, taking into account the cumulative effects of existing and proposed developments in the area.


To actively endeavour to upgrade capacity in settlements that have an identified capacity shortfall, such as Hollymount, Louisburgh, Ballindine and Doogort, through Irish Water’s Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme or any superseding programmes.

Water Services

  • Foxford and Charlestown Sewerage Scheme 
  • Killala Sewerage Scheme 
  • Newport Sewerage Scheme 
  • Claremorris Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade 
  • Ballyhaunis Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade 
  • Lough Mask Regional Water Supply Scheme: Srah‐Westport 
  • Lough Mask Regional Water Supply Scheme: Kiltimagh. 
  • East Mayo Regional Water Supply Scheme serving Charlestown, Swinford, Ireland West Airport Knock, Foxford & Kilkelly 
  • Ballina Regional Water Supply Scheme (Storage/Mains) 
  • Ireland West Airport Knock Treatment Plant Upgrade and Sewerage Scheme

Table 7.1 Water Services Projects

7.4.2   Waste Management

Waste management involves measures to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste. Waste management is regulated by national and European legislation, with policy and enforcement operated between the Department of the Environment, Climate Action and Communications, the EPA and Local Government.

Mayo is located within the Connacht-Ulster Waste Management Region, governed by the Waste Management Plan 2015 – 2021. Mayo County Council is the regional lead authority, acting on behalf of the other authorities with responsibility for the successful implementation of the plan. Mayo County Council provides two civic amenity centres (Recycling Centres) at Derrinumera and Rathroeen. The civic amenity centres provide householders with the opportunity to dispose or recycle bulky items of waste, items of household hazardous waste, green garden waste as well as householder landfill and recyclable waste.

Mayo County Council provide bring banks for householder bottles and jars throughout the county. The household and commercial waste collection service in County Mayo is provided by private sector operators, while Mayo County Council provides litter bins in towns and villages, parks and areas frequented by the public. The Council also provides a team of litter wardens and waste enforcement officers to ensure waste legislation is complied with and prosecutes those in breach of waste law.   Circular Economy

The concept of the Circular Economy is to minimise waste going to landfill and maximise waste as a resource. This means that prevention, preparation for reuse, recycling and recovery are prioritised in that order, over the disposal of waste. A recycling rate of 65% by 2030 has been proposed by the European Commission for the Circular Economy Package. The Council will support circular economy principles, prioritising prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery over the disposal of waste. Mayo County Council also provides an educational and awareness role among various groups and supports the Green Schools Programme to promote Environmental Education from a young age.

Circular Economy Process

Figure 7.1 Circular Economy Process (Source: Dept. of Communications, Climate Action & Environment)

Waste Management Policies


To support the Implementation of the Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Plan 2015-2021(as amended) or replacement plan with particular emphasis on reuse, recycling and disposal of residual waste in the most appropriate manner where it can be demonstrated that the development will not have significant adverse effects on the environment, the integrity of the Natura 2000 network, traffic safety, residential or visual amenity. 


To promote the sustainable management of waste generation and investment in different types of waste treatment and support a healthy environment, economy and society.

Waste Management Objectives

INO 10


Promote prioritising prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery, and to sustainably manage residual waste. New developments shall take account of the provisions of the Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Plan 2015-2021(as amended) and observe those elements of it that relate to waste prevention and minimisation, waste recycling facilities and the capacity for source segregation.

INO  11

To provide and support the provision of bring banks or other appropriate recycling facilities throughout the county

INO 12

To continue to expand environmental awareness initiatives designed to create increased public awareness of waste prevention, minimisation, reuse and resource efficiency.

INO 13

To encourage community/voluntary groups to establish additional waste services or facilities (e.g. small-scale facilities for recycling, reuse, repair) in their area and assist them to develop a strategy to provide such facilities for and with members of their community.

INO 14

To continue to support with local and Tidy Towns initiatives in the maintenance and conservation of our local urban and rural communities throughout the county.

INO 15

To seek the effective engagement of local communities in the county to promote their role in recycling waste and tackling the problem of illegal dumping within the county through liaison with the Environmental Awareness Officer.

7.4.3   Surface Water and Flood Risk Management   Surface Water Management

Mayo County Council is responsibility for surface water drainage. The SLA between Irish Water and the local authorities requires both parties to act in good faith to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in respect of surface water drainage and flood management. A MoU has been agreed in principle between Irish Water and Mayo County Council and will be ratified over the plan period. 

All new development in the county must account for how surface water runoff will be appropriately managed. Mayo County Council advocates surface water management through Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). SuDs is widely recognised as a green infrastructure-based approach to drainage and storm water management. It aims to mimic the natural drainage of a site, to minimise the effect of a development on flooding and pollution of waterways, through various engineering solutions, including using porous surface treatments, ponds, swales, filter drains or other installations.

The use of SuDS design will be important to help increase climate resilience. SuDS can provide areas where the natural processes of rainwater interception, storage and infiltration can take place within the built environment, offering a more sustainable approach to the management of urban storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces than the conventional underground pipe and storage-based solutions.   Flood Risk Management

Flooding is the most evident source of climate related impact and loss around the county. Over the past number of years, there have been significant instances where flooding has occurred in areas of the county causing damage to homes and businesses, particularly in the towns of Ballina, Béal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet), Crossmolina, Foxford and Louisburgh and Westport. The Islands off County Mayo have also been impacted by sea surges and coastal storms. In relation to the effective management flooding, the Water Framework Directive advocates a shift away from site specific hard engineering solutions to address flooding and a move towards a more sustainable and holistic approach flood management at the catchment scale.  The capacity to adapt to greater extremes in hydrological conditions will depend on the ability to apply integrated decision making, together with technology and systems that are appropriate and sustainable.

It is also of critical importance to protect floodplains, wetlands and coastal areas. These areas holding excess water until it can be released slowly back into a riverine system or the sea, or seep into the ground as a storm or tidal surge subsides. Vulnerable floodplains, wetlands and coastal areas should, therefore, be identified and preserved to the maximum extent possible, in both urban and rural areas, as “Green Infrastructure”. Flood risk is generally accepted to be a combination of the likelihood (or probability) of flooding and the potential consequences arising. Flood risk can be expressed in terms of the following relationship:

Flood Risk = Probability of Flooding x Consequences of Flooding

The assessment of flood risk requires an understanding of the sources, the flow path of floodwater and the people and property that can be affected. The source - pathway - receptor model, shown in the figure below which illustrates this and is a widely used environmental model to assess and inform the management of risk.

The source-pathway-receptor model

Fig No 7.2 The source-pathway-receptor model (Source: The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines for Planning Authorities)

Principal sources of flooding are rainfall or higher than normal sea levels while the most common pathways are rivers, drains, sewers, overland flow and their defence assets. Receptors can include people, their property and the environment. All three elements must be present for flood risk to arise. The planning process is primarily concerned with the location of receptors, taking appropriate account of potential sources and pathways that might put those receptors at risk.

Flooding Policy Context

The Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines (DoEHLG/OPW 2009, referred to as the Planning Guidelines) and PL2/2014 describe good flood risk practice in planning and development management. Planning authorities are directed to have regard to the flood guidelines in the preparation of development plans and in the preparation of local area plans and for development management purposes. The guidelines recommend a sequential approach to spatial planning, promoting avoidance rather than justification and subsequent mitigation of risk. A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) has been prepared for the Plan, in accordance with ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management, Guidelines for Planning Authorities’, to assess flood risk within the Plan area. The SFRA forms part of this Plan as a separate document (Volume 4).

Mayo County Council works in close cooperation with the OPW in delivering both the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme and flood relief schemes, with a flood relief scheme currently being progressed for Crossmolina.

The CFRAM Management Plans published in 2018, set out the long-term strategies and measures required to manage risk in these areas. The mapping and the proposed flood management strategy will be incorporated under the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment that informs the county development plan. CFRAMS mapping is available for the settlements of Ballina, Ballyhaunis, Crossmolina, Charlestown, Foxford, Louisburgh, Newport, Swinford and Westport.

A major function performed by floodplains, wetlands and coastal areas is to hold excess water until it can be released slowly back into a riverine system or the sea, or seep into the ground as a storm or tidal surge subsides. Vulnerable floodplains, wetlands and coastal areas should, therefore, be identified and preserved to the maximum extent possible, in both urban and rural areas, as “Green Infrastructure”. Zoning of land for this purpose enhances opportunities for the creation of habitats, which promotes and protects flora and fauna and thus increase diversity.

Surface Water Policies


To liaise and work in conjunction with Irish Water in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for surface water drainage and flood management, including the separation of foul and surface water drainage networks where feasible and undertake drainage network upgrades to help remove surface water misconnection and infiltration.

INP 10

To support, in conjunction with Irish Water, the improvement of storm water infrastructure to improve sustainable drainage and reduce the risk of flooding in urban environments.

Surface Water Objectives

INO 16

To support, promote and facilitate the use of green infrastructure, for example green roofs, green walls, planting and green spaces for surface water run-off retention purposes, in the interests of flood mitigation and climate change adaptation.

INO 17

To require the use of SuDS to minimise and limit the extent of hard surfacing and paving and require the use of sustainable drainage techniques where appropriate for new development or for extensions to existing developments, in order to reduce the potential impact of existing and predicted flooding risks.

INO 18

To ensure new development is adequately serviced with surface water drainage infrastructure, which meets the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, associated River Basin Management Plans and Catchment Flood Risk Assessment Management (CFRAM) Plans.

Flood Risk Management Policies

INP 11

To have regard to the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on the Planning System and Flood Risk Management (DoEHLG/OPW 2009) and Circular PL2/2014 (or as updated), in the preparation of plans and strategies related to development and in the assessment of projects.

INP 12

To support the implementation of the recommendations in the Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMP’s), including planned investment measures for managing and reducing flood risk.

INP 13

To support the implementation of recommendations in the CFRAM Programme to ensure that flood risk management policies and infrastructure are progressively implemented.

Flood Risk Management Objectives

INO 19

To ensure that a flood risk assessment is carried out for any development proposal where a flood risk is identified in accordance with the Planning System and Flood Risk Management (DoEHLG/OPW 2009) and Circular PL2/2014. This assessment shall be appropriate to the scale and nature of risk to the potential development.

INO  20

To consult with the OPW in relation to proposed developments in the vicinity of drainage channels and rivers for which the OPW are responsible and retain a strip on either side of such channels where required, to facilitate maintenance access thereto.

INO  21


To assist the OPW in developing catchment-based Flood Risk Management Plans for rivers in County Mayo and have regard to their provisions/recommendations.

INO  22

To protect the integrity of any formal (OPW or Mayo County Council) flood risk management infrastructure, thereby ensuring that any new development does not negatively impact any existing defence infrastructure or compromise any proposed new infrastructure.

INO  23

To ensure that where flood risk management works take place that natural heritage, cultural heritage, rivers, streams and watercourses are appropriately protected.

INO 24

To consult, where necessary, with Inland Fisheries Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and other relevant agencies in the provision of flood alleviation measures in the county

INO 25

To ensure each flood risk management activity is examined to determine actions required to embed and provide for effective climate change adaptation as set out in the OPW Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan Flood Risk Management applicable at the time.

INO 26

To cooperate with the Office of Public works in the delivery of the Crossmolina Flood Relief scheme and other schemes that may be brought forward in the lifetime of this Plan

INO 27

To identify and preserve vulnerable floodplains, wetlands and coastal areas to the maximum possible extent in both urban and rural areas.

7.4.4   Broadband and Information Communications Technology (ICT)

High quality ICT, telecommunication and broadband is required to support and enhance the attractiveness of living and working in the county. Mayo continues to benefit from the rollout of several Government led broadband schemes, including the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and the Broadband for Schools initiative, ensuring that broadband services are available in communities across the county. Broadband is central to the development of a knowledge-based economy throughout Ireland, facilitating remote working and promoting social inclusion. Areas without broadband cannot take full advantage of internet-centred developments in education, banking, research, business, etc. Therefore, deficits in provision of broadband, as well as mobile coverage, in County Mayo need to be resolved. In terms of ICT, two trans-Atlantic sub-sea fibre-optic cables will come ashore in Mayo, connecting Europe with North America, providing high speed broadband which may enable development of ICT facilities such as Data Centres in the county.   National Broadband Plan

The rollout of the National Broadband Plan in Mayo will retain and attract people and businesses to relocate and to work remotely from the county. The NBP for Mayo will cover approximately 44% of all premises in the county. The towns serviced by the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) presents opportunities for the development of e-working centres throughout the county and region, in line with Smarter Travel Policy of reducing the number of journeys to work by car. The development of e-working centres throughout the region will align employment and transport policies and support the uptake of the MANs network.  Mayo County Council was successful in an application for funding under the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Digital Innovation Programme  to develop a methodology for establishing where ducting and other telecommunications infrastructure in County Mayo has been installed and to digitally record their location and information in a Geographical Information System​. This register will be made available for the implementation of the National Broadband Plan and other telecommunications providers.   Broadband Connection Points

In Year 1 of the NBP, Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) will receive high-speed broadband connectivity. BCPs are public locations around the county where the community can avail of a centralised, shared, broadband service to bridge the gap until the roll out of the NBP. There are currently twelve locations identified as BCPs in County Mayo as shown on Map 7.1 below.