Protected Areas

In a submission to the beginning of the review of the Cork Development Plan, FIE has suggested developers should be warned that they need to assess projects outside Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas if they might impact on those sites, not just assess projects inside the boundaries.

We have also drawn their attention to European Court of Justice delivered on 11 January 2007 in Case C 183/05 against Ireland. Irish legislation only protects wildlife and their habitats when they are damaged 'deliberately'. Ireland will have to change its law to protect any harm done 'unintentionally'. We argue for the return of a number of lists of these animals and habitats that have been dropped from the Plan to warn developers that they may now be liable for damage to them.

We also seek rolling feedback throughout the process to develop a sense of dialogue. The traditional single summation of the Authority's responses to submissions at the end of the process may satisfy legal requirements to have regard to these submissions but it does not encourage ongoing participation and enrich the debate.

Read the Full Submission
In a submission to the beginning of the review of the Cork Development Plan, FIE has suggested developers should be warned that they need to assess projects outside Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas if they might impact on those sites, not just assess projects inside the boundaries.

We have also drawn their attention to European Court of Justice delivered on 11 January 2007 in Case C 183/05 against Ireland. Irish legislation only protects wildlife and their habitats when they are damaged 'deliberately'. Ireland will have to change its law to protect any harm done 'unintentionally'. We argue for the return of a number of lists of these animals and habitats that have been dropped from the Plan to warn developers that they may now be liable for damage to them.

We also seek rolling feedback throughout the process to develop a sense of dialogue. The traditional single summation of the Authority's responses to submissions at the end of the process may satisfy legal requirements to have regard to these submissions but it does not encourage ongoing participation and enrich the debate.

Read the Full Submission
Friends of the Irish Environment have asked An Bord Pleanala to seek an alternative crossing of the River Corrib for the Galway By-Pass.

The proposed route for the Galway By-Pass crosses the River Corrib through an environmental sensitive area. The mosaic of open limestone pavement and hazel scrub has been designated for protection under the European Habitats Directive and under the Galway City Development Plan 2005, 2011.
The Galway City Plan says of this area that it will "protect recreational uses, open space, amenity uses and natural heritage" while in fact the proposed route will destroy almost 4 hectares of unique limestone pavement.

The group claims the decision to cross the Corrib at this point without a full examination of alternatives is in direct contradiction to a recent European Court of Justice ruling. In this Portuguese case, the route was chosen, 'without having demonstrated the absence of alternative solutions for the route concerned' [Case C-239/04, Castro Verde SPA, Portugal].

FIE is asking the authorities to reject the proposed route and direct the local authority to examine an alternative crossing of the Corrib.

Last year, FIE supported local residents' objection to a cable link car ferry at Knockferry on the Corrib, citing nature conservation issues. The Appeal was successful and the project was refused permission.

Verification and further information:
Tony Lowes 027 73131 or 0872176316

Visit the site:
http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/main/index.php

Read the Objection
http://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/pdf/galwayby.pdf

Friends of the Irish Environment Ltd. is a network of independent environmentalists. FIE assists local groups and individuals to understand environmental issue and to implement environmental and planning law which supports sustainable communities. The FIE website records this work and its extensive searchable database contains almost 10,000 Irish environmental news stories. FIE provides free information services: The Irish Papers Today [TIPT] covers topical environmental news, the Forest Network Newsletter addresses Irish forestry issues, and FIE's Marine Working Group's site offers in-depth analysis of coastal and marine issues.

FEBRUARY 12 2007
Are you a botanist specialising in mosses, ferns, and lichens? And do you have climbing experience? If you are, FIE needs you to help save a unique gorge near Ballvaughny in West Cork that is threatened by the new N22 Killarney to Cork road. The 600 metre gorge in the Bohill River is in the middle of a remnant ancient Irish woodland, and the new road alignment will run through it. Cascade Wood Gorge carries the Bohill River into the Sullane. The micro climate supports an astonishing variety of mosses, lichens, and ferns , potentially including some protected by law. And yet it was never even mentioned when choosing the route! Read our initial Report - – and help our campaign to save this unique woodland habitat from destruction.
Are you a botanist specialising in mosses, ferns, and lichens? And do you have climbing experience? If you are, FIE needs you to help save a unique gorge near Ballvaughny in West Cork that is threatened by the new N22 Killarney to Cork road. The 600 metre gorge in the Bohill River is in the middle of a remnant ancient Irish woodland, and the new road alignment will run through it. Cascade Wood Gorge carries the Bohill River into the Sullane. The micro climate supports an astonishing variety of mosses, lichens, and ferns , potentially including some protected by law. And yet it was never even mentioned when choosing the route! Read our initial Report - – and help our campaign to save this unique woodland habitat from destruction.
The proposed route for the Galway By-Pass crosses the River Corrib through a mosaic of open limestone pavement and hazel scrub, materially contravening the Galway City Development Plan 2005 - 2011 and infringing the Habitats Directive.

The Galway City Plan says of this area that it will "protect recreational uses, open space, amenity uses and natural heritage" while in fact the proposed route will destroy almost 4 hectares of unique limestone pavement.

The site was designated for protection under the Habitats Directive. But in direct contradiction to the Directive and a recent European Court of Justice ruling, the route has been chosen, 'without having demonstrated the absence of alternative solutions for the route concerned' [Case C-239/04, Castro Verde SPA, Portugal].

FIE is asking the authorities to reject the proposal and direct the local authority to seek an alternative crossing of the Corrib.

Read the Press Release.

Read the Objection.
The proposed route for the Galway By-Pass crosses the River Corrib through a mosaic of open limestone pavement and hazel scrub, materially contravening the Galway City Development Plan 2005 - 2011 and infringing the Habitats Directive.

The Galway City Plan says of this area that it will "protect recreational uses, open space, amenity uses and natural heritage" while in fact the proposed route will destroy almost 4 hectares of unique limestone pavement.

The site was designated for protection under the Habitats Directive. But in direct contradiction to the Directive and a recent European Court of Justice ruling, the route has been chosen, 'without having demonstrated the absence of alternative solutions for the route concerned' [Case C-239/04, Castro Verde SPA, Portugal].

FIE is asking the authorities to reject the proposal and direct the local authority to seek an alternative crossing of the Corrib.

Read the Press Release.

Read the Objection.
Assessment of the Tanking Proposal for the Kildare By-pass

The Kildare By-pass cuts through the mid Kildare Aquifer. The Order to proceed ignored advice to the Public Hearing in 1993 of the dangers to the water levels, particularly Pollardstown Fen, Ireland's most important Fen and a site protected by European designation.

A complaint to the Commission in 1998 prevented construction proceeding. However Kildare County Council and the NRA commissioned many studies to demonstrate that by 'tanking' the road - wrapping it in plastic - the cutting would work.

International expert Professor K. R. Rushton was appinted as advisor. He concluded that the proposal 'would not cause measurable changes in quantity, chemistry or temperature of flows' and 'that the estimated changes in conditions of the Fen will not lead to changes which exceed the threshold of integrity of the critical species.'

Although unreported in the media, the extensive monitoring that is taking place in the two years since the road was completed demonstrate that both statements are wrong. We list here the Reports which must now be questioned.


Assessment of the Tanking Proposal for the Kildare By-pass

On 22 January, 1996 the Minister for the Environment authorised the Order for the Kildare Town By-Pass Motorway Scheme with modifications. The modifications included the requirement to

'immediately design and implement a monitoring programme that will allow them to properly evaluate the existing ground water conditions and dependent flora and fauna in the area that may be affected by the proposed cut through the Curragh Aquifer and to implement any remedial measures shown to be necessary, particular attention being paid to Pollardstown Fen.'

On foot of a complaint to the European Commission P98/4307 from Tony Lowes, Chairman of An Taisce's Natural Environment Committee, dated 20 April 1998, all work was stopped on the Kildare By-pass on 9 June, 1998. The letter from the Director General dated 9 June 1998 to Ireland concluded 'Given the seriousness of what is at stake, the weight of evidence already adduced by the complainant, I would be grateful for your authorities' assurance that no work will start on this project before the issues have been fully investigated.'

A Ministerial Monitoring Committee was established in August 1998 on the basis of the 1996 Ministerial Order giving consent to proceed.

In August 1998 Professor K. R. Rushton was appointed to advise the Committee. A number of reports were commissioned by the Ministerial Committee and reviewed by Professor Rushton, who gave his 'Final Recommendation' in a covering letter of 27 November, 1999:

'The concept of Tanked Cutting is an excellent engineering solution to the potential risk at Pollardstown Fen. A robust groundwater model with conservative predictions has been developed. The model predicts that the changes due to the Cutting will not cause measurable changes in quantity, chemistry or temperature of flows. A prominent ecological expert has indicated that the estimated changes in conditions of the Fen will not lead to changes which exceed the threshold of integrity of the critical species. Consequently the construction of the Cutting should proceed; improving monitoring is required to check on the effect of the construction both in the vicinity of the cutting itself and at Pollarstown Fen.'


TANKING OF THE KILDARE BY-PASS REPORTS

Review of Three Reports and subsequent documents concerning the proposal for Tanking the Kildare By-pass
Final report
November 1999
Professor K R Rushton

Kildare Aquifer Study
Supplementary Report on the Results of Modelling Studies of Impact of Tanked Road Construction on Pollardstown Fen
26 November 1999
Kildare County Council
Entec UK Limited

A Risk Analysis Concerning Ecological Impacts of a Tanked Construction of the Kildare By-Pass
Dr. Geert van Wirdum
November 1999
Netherlands Institute of Applied Geoscience TNO

Kildare Aquifer Study
Impact on Pollardstown Fen Caused by the Tanking Approach.
31 August, 1999
Kildare County Council
Entec UK Limited.

Review Tanking Construction Kildare By-Pass final
BO-39480/21 version August 1999
GeoDelft
For Kildare County Council

Kildare Aquifer Study
Long term Impacts of Bypass on Pollardstown Fen
Kildare County Council
Technical Report
19 July, 1999
Entec UK Limited

Analysis of Proposal for Tanking the Kildare Town Bypass through the Mid-Kildare Aquifer
Dr. Eric R. Farrell, BA, BAI, MS, PhD, CEng, FIEI, MICE, FGS
July 16, 1999

Ecological risks for Pollardstown Fen associated with the proposed construction of the Kildare Motorway Bypass.
Dr. Geert van Wirdum
June 1999
Netherlands Institute of Applied Geoscience TNO

Completion Report
Reports of Documents prepared for Kildare Aquifer Study 1998-99
March 1999
Professor K. R. Rushton

Baseline Invertebrate Survey of Pollardstown Fen
1998 [Draft]
Evelyn A. Moorkens & Jervis Good
Natural Environmental Consultants
For Kildare County Council

An Inventory of Mollusca in Potential SAC Sites, with special reference to Vertigo angustior, V. moulinsina and V. geyeri,
1998 Survey,
Evelyn A. Moorkens
Duchas, the Heritage Service,
November 1998. [Marked 'confidential'.]

ENDS