The European Commission has written to Ireland seeking information about a river bank clearance undertaken by the Office of Public Works [OPW]. The work, associated with the Bandon River (Dunmanway) Drainage Scheme, was undertaken at the end of September, 2015.

 

More than 340 metres of riverbank was ‘significantly damaged’ according to an expert Report commissioned by the OPW in a subsequent investigation of the incident. The bank in question is adjacent to the Long Bridge in Dunmanway where the Bandon River hosts a ‘dense colony’ of the protected fresh water pearl mussel shaded by a protected woodland. The Report recorded ‘large quantities of loose mobile soil and bank collapse’.

 

The document, which Friends of the Irish Environment obtained under Access to Information on the Environment, details ‘removal of riparian trees and vegetation and disturbance of the ground resulting in the presence of large amounts of loose soil that may be easily eroded and transported into the adjacent mussel habitat’. It concluded that the ‘mussel habitat had been negatively impacted’ with mussels ‘likely to suffer mortalities’.

 

It is accompanied by numerous photographs of the clearance of the protected woodland. Subsequent site visits by the NPWS show the ‘complete overwhelming’ of the silt fences erected to ‘mitigate’ the work and control pollution by the OPW.

 

FIE provided the Report to the European Commission and has now made it available on their website. The Commission recently informed FIE that they had written to Ireland on 5 September 2016 seeking an explanation of the incident and of ‘what has been done on the basis of this report’.

 

A spokesman for the organisation said that this report was timely, coming as it does when pressure is growing to allow dredging of the Bandon River on the basis of emergency powers bypassing EU nature conservation legislation.

 

FIE Director Tony Lowes said that the Report ‘highlighted the dangers to the environment of the OPW’s highly interventionist approach to urban flooding which emphasises hard landscape measures over catchment management and soft measures.

 

‘The disastrous approach demonstrated in this Report is being replicated in the flood management schemes across the country through the OPW’s Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) project. This Report provides graphic photographs of the River overwhelming entirely the fences put in place to control silt and hessian mats placed to control erosion. The OPW’s current flood control plans rely on the assumption that these ‘mitigation measures’ will work.

This experience on the Bandon River demonstrates these assumptions are not valid’, he said.

 

FIE has also written to the Minister Heather Humphries highlighting the concerns expressed by NPWS officials in internal emails who felt that this case highlighted the ‘complicated legal framework’ which ‘surely needs improving’.

ENDS

View the Photographic Report    /    Read the Report    /    And the Letter to the Minister

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

4 September 2016 [posted 4/10/16]

 

The Department of Transport Tourism and Sport has been accused of ‘mocking’ the Paris Accord in ignoring national policy and legislation on climate change.

 

‘Just as two superpowers agree to the Paris Accord, our country is manifestly not on track to meet those targets’, a statement from the group said, ‘as the main elements of expenditure identified in the strategy will all lead to increased - not decreased - emissions’.

 

In its submission to a public consultation on the next Statement of Strategy for the Department to be adopted in 2017 [1], FIE says the Minister in adopting a recent Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area breached his legal obligations under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act to ‘have regard to’ the objective of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. It also entirely ignored the reorientation of national transport policy undertaken by the Government in 2009’s ‘Smarter Travel A Sustainable Transport Future - A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009-2020’.

 

‘The Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area predicts increased numbers of motor vehicle trips, increased lengths of trips and increased emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants damaging to public health’, the group pointed out to the Minister.

 

According to FIE, ‘governments have continued to pay lip service to reducing green house gas emissions but have ignored policies put in place to ensure that Ireland meet these targets. The current Statement of Strategy (2015-2017) fails to even mention the targets established in 2009.

 

Quoting statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency, [EPA 2], FIE says this ‘avoidance’ is leading to a predicted increase in the transport sector emissions by 19% between 2013 and 2020 and a further 20% over the period 2020 to 2035. ‘Under current government policies, there will be no reductions to agricultural emissions while transport emissions will increase by about 40% between 2013 and 2035. It’s very hard not to feel that Ireland is mocking the Paris Climate Accord just as China and the United States commit their nations to honour it.’

The group has recommended to the Minister that the Statement of Strategy explicitly reference the obligations imposed by the recent Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act and the targets in Smarter Travel and set out how those obligations and targets will be met by the Department.

 

ENDS

 

 

CONTACT: Tony Lowes     087 2176316  /   027 74771

 

EDITORS NOTES

 

[1] FIE Submission

http://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/images/pdf/statement_transport_16.08.16.pdf

 

[2] Environmental Protection Agency, 2015

http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/airemissions/EPA%202015%20GHG%20Projections%20Publication%20Final.pdf )

 



The Friends of the Irish Environment has called on the Government to classify balloons as litter.

Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.
Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP has welcomed the cancellation of a planned balloon release by an autism charity.

Cork Autism Society had planned to release balloons into the air this Sunday, but have now cancelled the release – if not the event – after protests from the Friends of the Irish Environment.

The FIE said that balloons released into the environment burst and become lethal ‘marine debris’, creating a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other prey.

Marian Courtney of Cork Autism Society told TheJournal.ie she has written to the FIE saying that event has been “slightly altered”.

Instead of a release, the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during this Sunday’s 6km ‘fun run’ and walk, will instead be taken home by the participants.

“We’re delighted with the prompt response from Cork Autism Society,” FIE Director Tony Lowes told TheJournal.ie.

It’s very good of them, and they were very quick. I’m sure if people knew about the effects of these balloons, they wouldn’t plan releases.

“We find that important people don’t realise there’s an adverse side to it.”

BalloonSource: Rollingnews.ie

No-brainer

“The balloons travel and rise across long distances, and they generally land in the ocean, and they break up into fragments which can last in the ocean for up to a year,” he added.

They look like a prey of some kind to turtles and to seabirds. Their stomachs fill up with plastic, and they feel like they’re fill, they don’t eat, and they starve to death.

“Plastic is a worldwide problem, but we still see balloon releases planned for events, and it’s a no-brainer.”

The FIE also called on the Government to define balloons as litter, making their outdoor releases illegal.

Photo 1Source: Cork Autism Society

A previous protest by the FIE caused a balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency to be re-arranged from a general balloon release to a ‘secure balloon release’.

Participants in this Sunday’s run can register online at www.corkautism.ie. The walk will start at the old Railway Line near Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City, and travel along the River Lee estuary to Blackrock Castle.

Entry is €15 for adults, €5 for children and free with a sponsorship card via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

http://www.thejournal.ie/fie-balloon-release-2967203-Sep2016/

PRESS RELEASE

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

Wednesday 28 September, 2016

 

The impact of Ireland’s new international commitments and national legislation intended to address climate change impact has been completely ignored in the current Independent Review of Airport Charges, according to Friends of the Irish Environment.

 

In its submission to the Consultation on the Independent Review of Airport Charges [1], FIE says the National Aviation Plan ‘avoids addressing the issue of rising emissions from aviation, does not actually set out any policies to deal with emissions, and fails to acknowledge the need to cap and curb demand growth so that the target of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C can be met’.

 

FIE’s quotes Professor Alice Bows-Larkin, professor of climate science and policy at the University of Manchester, whose expert evidence on aviation and climate change concluded that aviation’s overall negative impact on climate is ‘around twice that of CO2 alone’. [2]

 

‘In the case of aviation the damage is not just the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels, such as CO2.  It is also the sensitivity of the high altitude at which aircraft fly, and the emissions of particles and gases including water vapour and soot. Other factors that were not addressed in evaluating the impact of aviation are the airport operating procedures such as the ‘stacking’ or queueing of aircraft ready to land and the fact that while extra-large loads leads to greater efficiencies it also means the aircraft needs to carry more fuel, and thus more drag.’

 

A spokesman for the organisation said that ‘the exceptional risks and inequitable burdens posed by growing aviation emissions in Ireland have increased this year alone by 12% above 2015. [3] This represents a significant drain on Ireland’s putative climate efforts and is entirely contrary to both the Paris Agreement and our own recent Climate legislation.’

 

The spokesman said that international NGOs have also criticised proposals currently being considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal to allow airlines to purchase offsets against their emission and to delay any commitment to carbon neutral growth until after 2020.

 

‘NGOs support the recent study by the European Commission which says that aviation emissions cannot ‘grow in an unlimited and unregulated way’ [4], arguing that aviation must do its share of real mitigation now. ‘

 

‘This will require policies to properly price carbon in aviation fuel as well as measures to contain demand growth for air travel’, the spokesman concluded.

 

 ENDS

 

Contact: Tony Lowes for spokesman details

353 (0) 27 74771  / 353 (0)87 2176316

 

EDITORS NOTES

 

[1] Submission

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/images/pdf/FIE_web_26-9-16_aviation.pdf

[2] Bows-Larkin, A. 2016. Expert evidence on aviation and climate change. http://www.carbonbrief.org/heathrow-13-prof-alice-bows-larkins-expert-evidence-on-aviation-and-climate-change

[3] http://www.dttas.ie/sites/default/files/content/aviation/English/general/DTTAS%20Quarterly%20Aviation%20Statistics%20Snapshot%20/quarter-2-2016.pdf

[4] Cames, M., Graichen, J., Siemons, A., and Cook, V. 2015. Emission reduction targets for international aviation and shipping. Study commissioned by the European Parliament’s committee on environment, public health and food safety. Available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/569964/IPOL_STU(2015)569964_EN.pdf

 

 

The Friends of the Irish Environment has called on the Government to classify balloons as litter.

Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.
Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP has welcomed the cancellation of a planned balloon release by an autism charity.

Cork Autism Society had planned to release balloons into the air this Sunday, but have now cancelled the release – if not the event – after protests from the Friends of the Irish Environment.

The FIE said that balloons released into the environment burst and become lethal ‘marine debris’, creating a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other prey.

Marian Courtney of Cork Autism Society told TheJournal.ie she has written to the FIE saying that event has been “slightly altered”.

Instead of a release, the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during this Sunday’s 6km ‘fun run’ and walk, will instead be taken home by the participants.

“We’re delighted with the prompt response from Cork Autism Society,” FIE Director Tony Lowes told TheJournal.ie.

It’s very good of them, and they were very quick. I’m sure if people knew about the effects of these balloons, they wouldn’t plan releases.

“We find that important people don’t realise there’s an adverse side to it.”

BalloonSource: Rollingnews.ie

No-brainer

“The balloons travel and rise across long distances, and they generally land in the ocean, and they break up into fragments which can last in the ocean for up to a year,” he added.

They look like a prey of some kind to turtles and to seabirds. Their stomachs fill up with plastic, and they feel like they’re fill, they don’t eat, and they starve to death.

“Plastic is a worldwide problem, but we still see balloon releases planned for events, and it’s a no-brainer.”

The FIE also called on the Government to define balloons as litter, making their outdoor releases illegal.

Photo 1Source: Cork Autism Society

A previous protest by the FIE caused a balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency to be re-arranged from a general balloon release to a ‘secure balloon release’.

Participants in this Sunday’s run can register online at www.corkautism.ie. The walk will start at the old Railway Line near Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City, and travel along the River Lee estuary to Blackrock Castle.

Entry is €15 for adults, €5 for children and free with a sponsorship card via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

http://www.thejournal.ie/fie-balloon-release-2967203-Sep2016/