“Welcome to Tipperary – You’ve come a long way”, a road sign welcomes visitors to the Irish County of Tipperary. The text refers back to an old British song that became famous as a soldiers’ march during the First World War. And indeed, it takes a while to arrive in Tipperary by bus from Dublin airport. However, the long journey is very rewarding: You will encounter extraordinarily friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and a strong local culture. And: A vast, deserted area of a former lead and zinc mine in Lisheen.
But the ambition is to transform this grey space into a green area again. The former Lisheen mine site is designated to become the National Bioeconomy Campus. It is planned that the campus will host pilot installations for innovative technologies to turn waste into valuable products and energy as well as renewable energy production, such as wind energy, biogas, and photovoltaic installations.
Jan Starke, PhD student with the Public Administration and Policy (PAP) group at Wageningen University, looks at this regional transformation process from a fossil industry to a bio-based and renewable one in detail. As part of his research, Jan currently completes a secondment with the Tipperary County Council, the local planning and economic development authority responsible for Lisheen. He is based in the Council’s civil offices in Nenagh. As part of this case study, Jan analyses newspaper articles, spatial planning data, and policy documents. Moreover, he conducts expert interviews with various stakeholders involved in the Lisheen process.