FIE’s successful complaint to the UN Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context [ESPOO] in March 2013 that we in Ireland had been deprived of our right to be consulted by the UK before constructing the first of a new series of nuclear power plants continues to play out across Europe.
Ireland’s position is that since the United Kingdom had concluded that ‘the likely impacts determined through a thorough EIA do not extend beyond the county of Somerset and the Severn Estuary’, the activity was not likely to give rise to a significant adverse transboundary impacts and the requirements under the Convention regarding notification to other States did not arise.
As an Austrian study submitted to the Committee stated, however, ‘A conservative worst case release scenario should have been included in the EIA. A source term, for example for an early containment failure or containment bypass scenario, should have been analyzed as part of the EIA – in particular because of its relevance for impacts at greater distances.’
As a result of the complaint, work may now have to be halted at the Hinkley C power plant construction site to allow for consultation.
Almost a year after FIE began to investigate the felling of protected trees during the bird nesting season at Ireland’s largest private estate, the Minister for Agriculture has confirmed the felling of at least 9 specimen oak trees between 60 and 80 years old – with some even older – even though the Department had tried to specifically protect them with a cover letter to the licence. The cover letter proved invalid and while procedures have been changed, there is no way to enforce existing licences with these kinds of conditions. Even worse, when Minister for Heritage Heather Humphries had a report prepared by her Parks and Wildlife Service confirming the felling in response to a Parliamentary Question from James Bannon about the felling in December 2015, she told neither the Guards nor the Forest Service – nor did she ever answer the Deputy as promised. As a result, no prosecution can be undertaken of Lady Georgiana Forbes because of the passage of time.
Bord na Mona, the semi-state turf development board, has ignored a recent High Court decision by applying for a horticultural processing facility without assessing the impact on the bogs supplying the peat.
The application is for a horticultural processing facility on a 2.7-hectare site near Naas in County Kildare, a joint venture with the Dutch company Legro. Legro is one of largest producers of casing soil for mushroom cultivation with clients all around the world, according to the application.
The High Court recently ruled in relation to Edenderry Power Plant that the source of the plant’s fuel must be considered as part of the application for the continuation of the plant but this decision has been ignored by the company in its current application.
While Bord na Mona has committed to phasing out the exploitation of bogs for power plants, it shows no sign of any social responsibility when it comes to its’ horticultural division.
FIEs presentation at the Salmon Watch Ireland Conference addressed the enormous scope of the environmental impact of salmon farming on eco systems as far away as the Antarctic, outlining how the use of the English language has been twisted to allow the Aquaculture Stewardship Council to certify that farmed salmon receiving food that is composed entirely of fish can claim that in fact the food has no fish in it, how chemicals designed to kill parasites are in fact medicines and so need little environmental assessment, and how the Department of Marine ignored appeals from Donegal County Council to control overstocking at Marine Harvests Lough Alton smoult site and instead gave permission for the overstocking – without any assessment of the impact. And how the biggest environmental impact may be the loss of credibility for the word ‘organic’.
Four international experts have written to the Clare Champion newspaper publicly calling on Clare County Council to be ‘diligent’ as the beach at Donald Trump’s Doonbeg golf course is ‘still under threat’ from revised proposals.
The authors of ‘The World’s Beaches, A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline’, say that ‘We believe that the public may not be aware that, in effect, the proposed work at Doonbeg Golf course project hasn’t really changed and still involves emplacement of beach-destroying seawalls.’
Instead of the walls, the authors recommend that ‘the currently affected holes can be located further from the shoreline if the need arises (most likely at less cost than constructing/maintaining walls). This approach will preserve the beach for future generations, maintain the recreational course, and set a good example for future Irish coastal management in this time of rapidly rising sea levels.’
#NatureTrumpsWalls is calling on supporters asking them to support their objection to the Council and have set up a website for this mass action at http://www.savethewaves.org/objection/.