Monthly Archives: October 2005

No more grass fires on Seagrange Park

During summer 2005 there were many fires in cut grass on Seagrange
Park. The grass was long grass from the wettest area of the park, an
area which can only be cut well into the summer.   Normal
grass cuttings are usually left to enrich the soil.  However,
following a motion of mine at the Area Cttee. the Parks Department has
undertaken to remove these long cuttings because of the fire risk

Public Meeting: What does the Green Party stand for?

{mosimage}Trevor Sargent, T.D., leader of the Green Party, and David Healy, local
Councillor will speak at a public meeting in Baldoyle Library at 7pm on
Thursday 20th October. 
The topic is "What does the Green Party stand for?"   and we intend it to
be a relaxed question and answer style session.  All are welcome.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements incorporated into Local Area Plan

{mosimage}I successfully proposed at the Council that high standards for energy
efficiency and renewable energy should be incorporated into the Local
Area Plan for the Cappagh area.  These standards require an annual
heating and hot water energy requirement not exceeding 50 kWh/m2 and
that renewable energy be used to meet at least 30% of the these energy
needs.  These requirements are much higher than that in the
Building Control Regulations.  We failed to get them into the
Written Statement of the Development Plan, but did get them agreed from
a developer in relation to the Barnhill site in Dublin 15.  We are
now as Greens proposing them for all Local Area Plans and are very
pleased to get them agreed in this case.  

There are a lot of new houses being built in Fingal.  The 3 Green
councillors are doing everything we can to make sure they are built to
the best energy standards.  There is no reason why Ireland can’t
build houses which are every bit as good as those in Denmark or
Sweden.  This is a win-win solution, meaning lower energy bills
for those living in the houses, and much lower emissions of greenhouse
gas which damage the climate. The motion agreed is below.

That the following be included in the Cappagh local area plan:

“The residential development will attain high standards of energy
efficiency and environmental sustainibility, including the following:
–    bio-climatic site design,
–    water conservation,
–    ventilation,
–    energy efficient strategies for housing design,
–    daylight analysis,
–  high insulation standards

“All new buildings will meet the minimum low energy performance
standards (as defined below) as a prerequisite to receiving planning
approval (calculation report to be submitted with the planning
application). Each building’s energy performance calculation must be
demonstrated on the basis of a simple approved method (e.g. EN 832)
carried out by qualified or accredited experts.  Low energy
buildings are defined as building with an annual heating requirement
(space and  water heating) not exceeding 50 kWh/m2 of useful floor

The development will utilise renewable energy supply systems to meet at
least 30% of the buildings space and water heating requirements as
calculated on the basis of an approved method carried out by qualified
or accredited experts.”

Motion on water use defeated

{mosimage}A second motion in relation to the Cappagh Local area plan in relation
to reducing water use in the plan was defeated.  This was stated
to be because the content of the motion is already covered in the
Development Plan.  In fact the motion is a more specific
commitment with greater details than the Development Plan.  The
real reason seemed to be an unwillingness to follow a lead from the
Green Party, which was the only party to submit any motions in relation
to the local area plan.  It was interesting to note that some
councillors were visibly annoyed that the Greens had gotten their first
motion agreed  and spoke at length to tell us we were wasting
time.  Others were determined to bring their party colleagues into
line and succeeded.  Even more interesting was to see some Council
officials leave the room to gather in a few missing councillors from
their offices behind the Council chamber.  The result was that the
motion was defeated.  The text of the motion is below.  When
the report (supplied on paper at the meeting) is circulated, I will
attach it also. That the following be included in the Cappagh local area plan:

"The buildings will be required to incorporate provisions for reducing
water use including low flow fittings (toilets, taps, shower heads) and
provisions for reuse of rainwater and/or greywater for flushing toilets

Council to put “exempted” mobile phone masts on planning lists

{mosimage}Fingal County Council agreed today to a Green Party motion
that any notifications received claiming exemption from planning
permission for mobile phones will be circulated together with the
weekly planning lists. I  submitted this motion because  up
to now, mobile phone transmitters have been erected  and although
the  County Council had been informed, no-one was aware that this
exemption was being claimed.  In the case of the transmitters
erected beside St. Peter and Paul’s Boys National School in Baldoyle,
the exemption claimed did not apply and they had to be taken
down.  This decision will mean that community groups who keep an
eye on the planning lists will know of at least some of the proposed
"exempted" transmitters which are being put up in their area.

What are planning lists?

Some community groups or active citizens might not know about the
planning lists:  Every local authority has to produce a weekly list of
all applications made to it.  Most councils make these lists available
by email on request.  It enables residents’ associations, community and
environmental organisations to keep an eye on planning matters in their

Energy Issues on Fingal Development Board

As Chair of the Environment Strategic Policy Committee on Fingal County
Council, I am a member of Fingal Development Board ( 
At the moment the Development Board is reviewing the County Development
Strategy which it agreed in 2002. 

I have been emphasising the need to adress greenhouse gas emissions and rising fuel prices at the Development Board
At the moment the two actions, which need further development look like this

Energy and Climate Theme: Ensure investments made now do not commit us to ongoing high-energy demand.

•    Invest in land use and layout, which minimises transport demand.
•    Invest in low energy transport not high-energy transport.
•    Invest in energy efficient housing, buildings and production systems.
•    Invest in renewable energy and infrastructure not fossil fuel infrastructure.

Energy and Climate Theme : Prepare for economic and social
changes  which will result from higher energy prices (and likely
resulting recession).

•    Reduced transport (differentiated)
•    Localised economy.
•    Localised food production
•    Particular vulnerabilities of some sections of society and essential sectors of economy.

•    Prepare for sections of economy disappearing, shrinking.

Both need more working out into details.  The first however is
generally agreed.  The second seems to worry some of the members
and will have to be reworked.  Any suggestions or comments would
be welcome.

Seven houses to go ahead in Moyclare

The original design which included houses on part of the zoned green
space at Moyclare was in breach of the County Development Plan and has been altered.  The original plan included 10
houses.  5 Houses are to be built in "the alcove" and 2 along the side
of 25 Moyclare Park, a total of 7. 

Although many residents had called for only the 5 houses in the alcove
to go ahead, I feel this represents a good design solution which will
improve the quality of the open space and provide much needed social
housing in the area.  The Moyclare Residents’ Association were
instrumental in achieving this signficant improvement for their