The concept of shared services is high on the political agenda throughout the European Union and is a priority for both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. Although much of the impetus for collaboration on the sharing of services amongst local authorities is derived from financial constraints and declining public resources, the necessity for neighbouring authorities to work together to tackle common challenges is particularly apparent in relation to emergency planning. Indeed, emergency planning has consistently been identified in ICLRD research and focus groups as one of the frontline/specialised services offering greatest potential for local government in developing and delivering on a shared service agenda. Collaborating on emergency planning on a cross-border basis through the creation of a connected and resilient approach to civil emergencies can bring mutual benefits to citizens within the border region.
ICLRD is working closely with the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) and the Cross Border Emergency Management Working Group (CBEMWG) to progress an emergency planning pilot initiative under the Shared Services thread of the Cross-Border Spatial Planning and Training Network (CroSPlaN II) programme. The pilot is focused on the development of a proof of concept mapping tool displaying datasets on the location of key facilities for emergency planning, centred on the Southern and Western Environmental Health Group areas for Northern Ireland and the North West and East Major Emergency Management Regional Working Groups for Ireland. In addition to the mapping tool, ICLRD is researching best practice from other jurisdictions on the development and capabilities of such tools and their functioning on a cross-border basis. It is the intention that the mapping tool and associated research can assist local partners to work up joint proposals for the establishment of a more extensive and professionally hosted system.
The concept of shared services is high on the political agenda throughout the European Union and is a priority for both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. Although much of the impetus for collaboration on the sharing of services amongst local authorities is derived from financial constraints and declining public resources, the opportunity for neighbouring authorities to work together to improve connectivity and enhance their tourism offer is particularly apparent in relation to the creation of regional greenways. The success of the Great Western Greenway and the ongoing expansion of the National Cycle Network in both jurisdictions can undoubtedly be further enhanced through the creation and linking up of cycle and greenway routes on a cross-border basis. Moreover, the potential to tie into the wider EuroVelo network (www.eurovelo.com/en), and to attract substantial financial support from the European Union, provides added impetus to those seeking to progress the development of the regional greenways idea.
ICLRD is working closely with local partners in the border region to progress a regional greenways pilot initiative under the Shared Services thread of the Cross-Border Spatial Planning and Training Network (CroSPlaN II) programme. The pilot is initially focused on the mapping of existing and proposed greenways and the identification of gaps within the network that could conceivably be addressed in the future. Following the mapping exercise, it is proposed that a brief analysis is undertaken of greenway-related policy and academic literature (predominantly from the island of Ireland) with a view to drawing out key themes and emerging issues and ultimately contributing towards the development of a draft greenways strategy for the border region. It is the intention that such an analysis proves invaluable in assisting local authorities and others in preparing proposals and funding bids for the creation of a regional greenway network on a cross-border basis.