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: ongoing)
- Stage 2 – Assessment of Route Options and Identification of Preferred Route; and,
- Stage 3 – EIAR, NIS, Public Consultation and Statutory Planning Process.
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.
Constraints Study Report
An Environmental Constraints Study is also being undertaken by Atkins. This study will identify all the ecological and environmental issues associated with the project area, which will influence the proposed project route.
Ecological surveys (for wintering birds, bats and otters) are currently ongoing across the south Dublin Bay area. Further surveys on flora, breeding birds, invasive species and mammals will be commenced on a seasonally appropriate basis. Consultations with NPWS have also been undertaken early as part of the process.
The environmental aspects and further surveys will also be carried out, gathering information on human receptors, architectural and cultural heritage, visual features, hydrology, hydrogeology and geology.
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 throughout 2020 to inform the public about progress to date and to allow people have their say on how their cycleway and walking route is developed.