I welcome the Minister for the Environment’s approval of a Special protection order for Dublin Bay and the rejection of Dublin Port’s appeal. In future any development which could harm the bay will be restricted. This includes any work which is likely to destroy, significantly alter, damage or interfere with the ecology of the bay. Development plans must have the consent of the Minister for the Environment, including any plans for:
Reclaiming or infilling
Altering watercourses or wetlands including altering the flow of water of deepening the channel
The new SPO gives the Minister for the Environment the power to prevent Dublin Port’s current plan to infill 52 acres of Dublin Bay.
This certainly represents a major initiative in public policy and I hope that An Bord Pleanála will take note of this new protection in accessing the plan by Dublin port to fill in 52 acres. I have opposed the ports move because:
- It conflicts with Government Policy (including the new Protection Order on the Bay)
- It has not properly considered the alternatives
- It risks aggravating flooding problems
- It pre-empts broader evaluation of the best future for the Bay
The port has recently published a new report by Indecon in an attempt to bolster their position. This report seeks to discredit the idea of removing the entire port from Dublin but offers little to justify the expansion plan.
The SPO covers the area between the River Liffey and Dun Laoghaire, the estuary of the River Tolka to the north of the Liffey, and the Booterstown Marsh.
The site was designated because it is home to of international importance for the light bellied brent goose, a colony of Common tern, and it is of national importance to nine other waterfowl species.
An Bord Pleanala’s oral hearings into the 52 acre infill will resume later this month.