The transport/accessibility benefits from the completion of the M20 provide a further incentive to foreign and domestic investors in relation to facilitating the development of industrial sites along the catchment area of the scheme. The M20 would play an important role in this context through improving accessibility and marketability of industrial sites and land banks in the scheme corridor to investors. The region boasts a wide sectoral eco-system including employment in the biopharma, engineering, ICT, life-sciences, energy, tourism, professional/financial services and agri-food sectors. The development of the M20 would improve labour market access to employers in these sectors as well as incentivise future investment in the region.
In this context, it should be noted that the World Economic Forum recently ranked Ireland’s road infrastructure in 32nd place, behind major FDI rivals in Europe. Addressing the deficiencies in relation to the existing N20 would therefore play a role in improving the competitiveness and attractiveness for foreign investment of regions outside Dublin. The wider region has a strong track record in attracting FDI, for example the South-West Region accounted for 29% of the total net FDI jobs gained over the period examined. Nevertheless, various industry stakeholders attending the regional workshop undertaken as part of this assessment considered the current road to not be fit for purpose, and expressed concerns over the negative connotations a prospective investor may infer from the lack of public investment in critical areas such as the transport network between Ireland’s second and third largest urban centres.
As an illustration of the potential role which completion of the M20 could play in acting as a catalyst for investment and employment creation, Indecon has identified six potential land bank/development sites along the catchment area of the scheme, which are currently at various stages of development/utilisation. The future economic impacts, in terms of potential employment creation that could be supported by these sites, are subject to uncertainty. If investments were to emerge which utilise the sites, actual job creation potential would be dependent on the nature of the activity and the scale of the investment involved. Indecon has developed indicative estimates of potential employment generation that could be supported on the six industrial sites, based on alternative scenarios for employment density and the proportion of lands developed
These indicative estimates suggest a potential economy-wide employment impact over time of 8,251 direct and indirect jobs.
Indecon has indicatively estimated that the additional direct employment would support direct annual employment incomes amounting to up to €382 million per annum in gross terms if displacement impacts are excluded. The gross incomes from additional direct jobs supported could in turn provide a gross exchequer impact of up to €128 million per annum, depending on the nature of investment attracted.