CONSULTATION undertaken for the N/M20 Cork to Limerick project in recent months generated “unprecedented levels of public engagement” with over 40,000 interactions via digital and traditional channels.
That’s according to figures released by the N/M20 Project Office following the conclusion of the consultation process which commenced on November 19, 2020 and was later extended to January 15, 2021, following requests.
Public health restrictions as a result of the pandemic led the team to set up a project-specific Virtual Consultation Room supported by online and telephone consultation meetings and feedback channels via email, the project website and post.
Figures released by the Project Office show that 38,375 views took place of the Virtual Consultation Room which explained the project background and development process, the road-based and rail-based options being examined, the potential for active travel and the consultation process itself.
The Virtual Consultation Room’s interactive mapping allowed those viewing to identify houses, premises and land holdings on any of the options being examined.
In addition to visits to the Virtual Consultation Room at CorkLimerick.ie, the project team undertook 726 online or telephone consultations, received 1,091 feedback forms, 1,150 emails, 460 telephone calls and attended online public meetings.
“By any criterion, this was a significant and successful public consultation,” Jari Howard, N/M20 Project Coordinator said.
Mr Howard said the online format of the consultation led to “much higher levels of public engagement than normally experienced” and said that these new methods will become an integral part of all future consultations for the project, “along with the traditional public display events and physical meetings once the public health guidance permits same”.
“The feedback and submissions received through this public consultation will be considered by the project team in Stage 2 of the option selection process.
The Project Office said the Stage 2 assessment and appraisal will lead to the identification of “the best performing option or combination of options”.
The preferred option will be presented at a future public display, which is expected to take place later this year.
The project team will then engage directly with householders, land and all property owners, including businesses and other stakeholders along the preferred option as the design is developed.