Dublin Bay and the Environment
A clear understanding of the environmental and ecological factors associated with the Dublin Bay area will be critical to the success of this project.
Dublin Bay is nearly entirely designated under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and includes four Natura 2000 sites. Dublin Bay is a designated UNESCO Biosphere since 2015.
Due to the interconnectivity to the adjacent Natura 2000 sites; the South Dublin Bay and the River Tolka Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA 004024) and the South Dublin Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC 000210), a rigorous and robust assessment of ecological features, evaluation of impacts and associated mitigations measures is required for the statutory planning process.
The area of the proposed project is also in close proximity to 2 nationally designated sites : -
South Dublin Bay Proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA) (000210); and,
Booterstown Marsh pNHA (001205).
Both sites are of national ecological importance and support a wide range of bird species. An Taisce has designated the Booterstown Marsh as ‘Booterstown Nature Reserve’.
Atkins have been appointed to carry out ecological surveys for the Dublin Bay area, between Irishtown in the north and Dún Laoghaire in the south.
A second contract, for the design consultant for the route inside DLRCC jurisdiction is to be appointed early in 2020.
The scheme has been divided in 3 stages up to Statutory Planning Approvals:
Stage 1 – Research and Data Collection (current status: completed)
Stage 2 – Assessment of Route Options and Identification of Preferred Route; and, (on Hold)
Stage 3 – EIAR, NIS, Public Consultation and Statutory Planning Process.(On Hold)
UPDATE ON PROGRESS
As part of Stage 1 above, the consultant issued a “Constraints Study Report” supported by ecological and environmental surveys, identifying the relevant issues associated with the project area, which will influence the proposed project route. Ecological surveys for wintering birds, bats, otters, flora, breeding birds, invasive species and mammals on the south Dublin Bay area have been concluded. Consultations with NPWS have also been undertaken early as part of the process. The environmental aspects and further surveys gathered information on human receptors, architectural and cultural heritage, visual features, hydrology, hydrogeology and geology.
PROJECT ON HOLD
Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the contract, and appointment of a design consultant were put on hold following consultation with the NTA. The implementation of emergency mobility measures, namely the Blackrock Park improvements, the Blackrock Village Improvements, Coastal Mobility Route from Seapoint Avenue to Sandycove and the proposals of a two way cycle lane in Dublin City Council along the Sandymount Strand brought uncertainties on the progress of the scheme, pending on the these temporary measures becoming permanent, being altered of being removed.
The Council is working with landowners to improve some localized constraints in the route and waiting on definition of the works implemented as part of the emergency mobility interventions. Resume of project activities will be informed once definition is obtained.
Regular updates will be provided over the next two years as this project progresses.
The section of the route in DCC, namely from Sean Moore Park until Merion Gates / Rock Road, will be progressed on a separate contract, managed by DCC.
These findings will feed into an engineering evaluation of the study area in order to identify potential routes which have the least impact on any of the identified ecological and environmental features of the study area.
A series of Public Consultations will be organised at key stages to inform the public about progress to date and to allow people have their say on how their cycleway and walking route is developed.