At today’s Oral Hearing into the proposed sewage treatment plant, I am making this presentation focusing on the water quality aspects of the proposal. I have recently become aware of the important biodiversity along the sewer route at Ballymun and I am glad to have the opportunity to include the Ballymun Wildlife Group’s Report on Biodiversity at Northpoint in my submission.
Fingal County Council is reducing pesticide use, implementing policy changes sought by Grern Councillors. This includes both letting wild plants grow in some areas and trialling safer alternatives to conventional pesticides.
As reported to this month’s Council meeting, alternatives including steam and foam are being used to deal with weeds coming up in locations like paving cracks. Visitors to Malahide Demesne may notice the smell of vinegar which is being used as a substitute for the controversial weedkiller Glyphosate.
Commenting on the implementation of the new policy, Cllr. David Healy said: “Phasing out pesticides is vital to protect our insects, particularly the pollinating insects which have such an important role in ecosystems. Our parks and open spaces must be places where nature can thrive. Green thinking says ‘think globally, act locally’ and we are very glad that Fingal is putting this into practice.”
Cllr Roderic O’Gorman commented: “It is good to see Fingal responding to the public concerns at the use of toxic chemicals in public places. As Councillors we hear these concerns first-hand. When people visit their local parks and open spaces, they want to be confident that these are safe and healthy places, in which they can let their children play freely.”
The update given to Fingal County Council’s monthly meeting regarding the plan can be found at p47 of these minutes.
My submission which led to the change in policy (including some photos of non-use of herbicides elsewhere) is available here.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is here.
Unfortunately, the threat to tarmac over some of the playing pitches at Bridgefield in Malahide Demesne has reappeared.
A report on parking in Malahide was brought to the March Area Committee. It seems to be intended to make the case for the conversion of some of the Bridgefield pitches to car parking.
The proposal to convert playing pitches to car park was originally made in 2009. The Council initiated a Part 8 process but abandoned it due to the strength of public opposition.
The proposal reappeared in late 2015, together with a proposed Forest Adventure Area. Despite the fact that the Law Agent advised that the relevant planning regulations hadn’t been complied with, a bare majority on the Council approved the proposal. That proposal was abandoned in 2016 following a High Court challenge by local resident Noel Mahon.
I will continue to oppose any further conversion of parkland to car parking. We need to protect the Demesne for future generations, improving access by foot, bicycle and public transport.
This recurrent proposal is undermining public confidence in the management by the Council of the wonderful asset. In September I proposed that there should be some sort of formal or informal input from park users and the local community. The proposal didn’t get the necessary level of support but I think it is worth returning to.
Fingal County Council has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission for a greenway between Baldoyle and Portmarnock. Details of the application are online here as well as in Baldoyle Library and the Council’s offices in Swords and Blanchardstown. Observations on the proposal can be made to An Bord Pleanála until 23rd March.
The cycling and walking route between Baldoyle and Portmarnock will provide for a high quality transport link and amenity route through the Green Belt between these towns. It responds to the demand from local residents for improved green transport opportunities along what is now a hostile stretch of road. It is part of the Bray to Balbriggan coastal greenway which the Green Party has been working for over many years.
The application is for a high quality route with pedestrians and cyclists separated. This recognises the importance of the route for transport cyclists as well as its role as an amenity for the public walking along the nature conservation area at Baldoyle Estuary and the Mayne River.
However, I am concerned about the proposal for 6m high lighting columns along the route. I will be proposing to An Bord Pleanála that these be replaced with low level lighting or path markings instead.
I have made the following submission in support of improved catchment management in the Mayne and Santry Rivers, and suggested the addition of the Howth streams to the catchment areas:
The issue of squirrels has recently had some media coverage and so I thought it worthwhile to give some background.
- Pine martens are associated with success for the red squirrel.
- Red squirrels are recovering a lot of territory in Ireland they had lost to greys in tandem with the recovery of pine martens.
- Red squirrels were (re-)introduced to Howth some decades ago.
- Greys have been moving in which puts the reds at risk.
I have submitted the following motions in relation to the Amendments to the County Development Plan. The meetings will be on 14th and 16th February.
(The deletion of the reference to enforcement comes from the fact that the Council has no influence on speed limit enforcement. Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending this much weaker version: “Support and promote the implementation of policy in the immediate vicinity of schools to provide for a safe and attractive low speed (30kph) environment.”)
Fingal County Council is currently preparing the County Development Plan to run from 2017 to 2023. The Draft Plan was on public display between February and April 2016 and a report on the over 900 responses received was supplied to Councillors at the end of July.
As Councillors we had until yesterday, 6th September, to draft proposals to amend the Plan based on the public consultation. Those amendments which the Council agrees to will go on public display in November.
I submitted amendments to a wide range of topics in the plan. A copy of my proposed amendments is here. In order to make them easy to navigate I have grouped them into the following topics:
- On Special Amenity Area Order and Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve
- On cycle pedestrian routes to be added to the map
- On public transport reservation from Clongriffin/Portmarnock – Balgriffin – Belcamp – Clonshaugh to metro reservations south of Dublin Airport
- In relation to the Moyne Road bypass proposal based on discussions at the previous stage of the Development Plan and in response to submissions by the developer of the adjoining residentially zoned land and Portmarnock Community Association
- On the zoning of the industrial estates beside Howth Junction railway station based on issues I raised at the previous stage of the Plan and a submission from a local business.
- On the process for sub-county level plans based on the experience of Fingal councillors and citizens as well as submissions from public authorities including the National Transport Authority
- Based on Fáilte Ireland’s submission
- In relation to the circular economy and sustainable resource use
- In response to the submission by Keep Ireland Open, Fáilte Ireland and others concerned with access to the countryside
- Based on concerns about Fingal’s approach to open space in high density development, an issue raised both by developers and residents
- On the transition to a low carbon climate resilient economy, a legal obligation of the Plan under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act and raised in a range of submissions
- On adaptation to climate change
- On Ecosystem Services Approach
- Transport motions based on a range of submissions by local road users and public transport users and the NTA
- Motion incorporating text from the Dublin City Development plan in relation to cycle parking as recommended by the submission from the National Transport Authority
- In relation to cycling in response to a wide range of submissions seeking better and safer cycling insfrastructure.
- Based on text in the National Cycling Policy Framework, to which some of the submissions refer.