The IDA has lodged a planning application to develop a pumping station at Loughbeg. It would pump wastewater and surface water. The planning application also seeks approval for a storage tank for wastewater, a building to house controls, an ESB substation and mobile lifting gantry. It also seeks approval to provide a chemical dosing unit, a standby generator, an air handling unit placed behind an acoustic barrier and to install two new concrete manholes on an existing pipeline. It seeks approval to lay new pipelines from these pumping stations through fields and along roads from Loughbeg to the Shanbally wastewater treatment plant for a distance of some 3 km. The pumping stations will serve 75 ha of industrially zoned land, as yet undeveloped. Wastewater of unknown composition from an unknown process is to discharge to the underground storage tank from industrial development of as yet unknown characteristics. All going well, it is to be pumped to a wastewater treatment plant some 3 km away, although the wastewater treatment plant does as yet not have the capacity to accept industrial loading. All not going according to plan, the wastewater will be pumped into Loughbeg. Stormwater with as yet unknown characteristics from car parks and process areas of the as yet unknown industries will flow to the stormwater pumping station in as yet unknown quantities to be pumped into Loughbeg. Lougbeg is an integral part of the Cork Harbour SPA which supports wintering waterfowl in numbers of national and international importance.
I supported the appeal to An Bord Pleanála by lodging an observation. You can read that here:
The Board agreed there was a possibility that the proposed development would do harm so it asked the IDA to produce an NIS (Natura Impact Statement). The NIS produced by the IDA’s consultants is available here:
Anything that happens at Marino Point affects Passage West. The Marino Point jetty is merely 500 metres directly across the water from Passage West town centre. The site has lain derelict since IFI ceased operating in 2002. Some clearance has taken place under the guidance of the EPA but many of the old structures still remain. The Port of Cork has purchased the site in partnership with Lanber Holdings to form the new Belvelly Marino Development Company. They have applied to Cork County Council for planning permission to clear these old structures, to install a new surface and foul drainage system, to infill the lagoon, construct flood defences and essentially prepare serviced sites for industrial development. Gouldings fertilisers is expected to move their operations on Centre Park Road to Marino Point and a planning application for this is due in early 2020.
It’s good to see life at Marino Point but I’m also conscious that anything taking place there will likely have an impact on Passage West. Marino Point is in the Cobh Municipal District and there is a risk that because water rather than land separates us, the vulnerability of Passage West may be underplayed or overlooked during the planning process. So I made a submission to the Port of Cork/Belvelly Marino Development Company’s planning application. A local residents group in Passage West also made a submission and I have been given permission to make it generally available. You will find links to both here …
This was a planning application lodged by O’Flynn Construction. O’Flynn’s has been developing Drake’s Point since 2017. Much local concern has been expressed about the proximity of earthworks to some magnificent and very mature trees close to the development and on the edge of Crosshaven Woods. I have been trying to engage with the planning department of Cork County Council to improve protection of these trees for many months without success. O’Flynn’s proposed apartment development is also to be adjacent to mature trees. I prepared this submission in the hope of a) finally getting a response from the planning department and b) helping to prevent against a repeat of the disregard for mature trees that we have observed to date. The workload being particularly heavy in this recent period, I lodged my submission by email on the closing date (28th November). Having confirmed in advance with Cork County Council that my submission would be valid if received by them before midnight, I sent it at 22:41. However Cork County Council refused to accept it as valid, saying that their server indicated that my submission was received at 03:43.
Irish Water Uisce Éireann has just finished a public consultation on what has the unattractive title of “Site Selection Methodology Report for Sludge Hub Centres”. Seriously not a title that is likely to attract public interest. Parts of it are equally dry to wade through to the extent that even I, with a background in this area, found the going tough.
That old maxim that matter cannot be destroyed but is converted from one form into another was never truer than for wastewater. The byproduct from sewage or any other form of wastewater treatment is sludge. Managing that sludge is the least spoken about part of wastewater treatment.
Sludge from municipal wastewater is organic and, as long as one is careful about what goes into the sewer, can be reasonably clean. In Ireland we haven’t developed many options for how to deal with it. Being nutrient-rich, sludge from urban centres is generally reused as a fertiliser in agriculture (with a whole dose of quality control measures attached). Sludge from chemical-based industries wouldn’t be an equally nice product and is usually either sent to landfill or burned. Before being used in agriculture, sludge must be treated to pasteurisation standard so it is guaranteed to be disease-free. This involves expensive capital works and so treatment is most financially viable in big centres or “sludge hubs”.
Irish Water proposes to centralise treatment of all municipal sludge arising in Counties Cork and Kerry in one (or maybe two) sludge hubs. The three locations being evaluated to perform as these sludge hubs are 1) Carrigrennan (Little Island), 2) Tralee and (yes, you guessed it!) 3) Shanbally. The consultation wasn’t about this approach or about where the sludge hubs might be but rather about what factors each of these three locations might be evaluated against to see which was best. I call that public consultation Irish-style and am sick to the teeth of it. Where is the environmental logic in transporting sludge from places like Castletownbere to here??? This brings the concept of centralisation to a whole new level.
At today’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District, we were presented with the promised report on the recent upgrade to the Shannonpark roundabout. Traffic calming measures at the N28/R610 junction were also included in the report.
The nub of the issue here is that Cork County Council had got planning permission through a Part 8 procedure to increase the capacity of the roundabout by providing a slip lane from Carr’s Hill to the N28 eastbound, amongst other measures. But when the project came to be built on the ground, the slip lane was omitted and an additional left-turn-only lane was added on the Carr’s Hill approach to the roundabout instead.
The Council’s report explains that this change arose at detailed design stage to meet the requirements of TII’s latest design advice: to put the planned slip lane in, an additional lane would have been necessary to bring it eastbound along the N28. Merging on a national route (as we do at the Kinsale Road and Sarsfield Road roundabouts) is no longer allowed.
The cost of the work is less than was budgeted. About €660k was budgeted; the cost of the tendered job was just over €510k.
I need your help! Consultation on the draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy ends on Friday at 5pm. This is the document that outlines the future of bus services, rail services, greenway provision, roads and more throughout the whole Cork Metropolitan Area. It is the first time in as long as I can remember that the NTA has actually INVITED the Cork public to connect with them in a meaningful way. We need to have our voices heard about provision of public transport to Passage West and Monkstown. I am drafting my own submission but many voices are so much louder than one. Please could you use as many or all of the points below as you wish to make your own submission. Copy them directly from the text at the bottom here or print them off from the link below – they’re yours to use however you wish. We haven’t much time so do whatever is easiest for you. Just do please make a submission!
Submission to the National Transport Authority (NTA) on the draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS)
As a resident of [………………..], I ask that the National Transport Authority would consider the following in the context of the current consultation on the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Study:
The frequency of the current 223 service needs to be increased to at least every half hour. Delivery of this increased frequency is needed now and cannot wait for implementation of the CMATS proposals.
Double decker buses are necessary on the current 223 service during peak times. At present, passengers regularly stand when commuting. This puts the safety and welfare of passengers at unacceptable risk. Full buses can pass those waiting at bus-stops without pulling in, often leaving passengers waiting a full hour for the next service. This is not acceptable. Improvements in this regard are needed now and cannot wait for implementation of the CMATS proposals.
Reliability of the current 223 service has been an ongoing issue. Buses need to turn up on time, not early or late. Genuine and accurate real time data is essential. Buses need to pull in at all stops. It is vital that buses complete their full route. At present if buses are behind schedule they can “forget” to service Church Hill, Passage West. If drivers have reached their permitted hours, the bus can simply stop although the route is not complete, thereby leaving passengers stranded. Improvements in this regard are needed now and cannot wait for implementation of the CMATS proposals.
Although it has been promised for years, there is no direct bus connecting Passage West to Carrigaline.Neither is it indicated in the CMATS proposals. Delivery of this bus route is past critical. Essential services for Passage West have been closed and moved to Carrigaline. Public health and social welfare services which impact the most vulnerable of our residents are now delivered for Passage West out of Carrigaline. It is a core part of the NTA’s remit that public transport is provided to essential services. A direct bus service between Passage West and Carrigaline is needed now and cannot wait for implementation of the CMATS proposals.
Throughout the 19thcentury and into the early part of the 20thcentury, public transport was effectively and efficiently delivered between Cork City and the harbour towns by a steamer service operating in Cork Harbour. The opportunity for public transport by water has not been considered in CMATS and needs to form an essential part of future public transport proposals for this part of Cork.
Early delivery of the train station at Ballynoe is essential for improving public transport options in Passage West/Monkstown. It would enable residents of Passage West and Monkstown to efficiently and effectively use the rail line connecting Cobh and Cork City. I ask that delivery of the Ballynoe train station would be a priority of CMATS.
The Cross River Ferry is an essential part of transport delivery in this part of Cork and particularly in Passage West, Monkstown and Cobh. I ask that it would be considered as an integral part of the CMATS considerations.
The existing greenway from Passage West to Cork City is a valuable sustainable transport resource.It needs to be extended so that it provides safe connectivity for cyclists to Ringaskiddy and to Carrigaline. I ask that delivery of this Cork Harbour Greenway would be a priority of CMATS.
Early delivery of bus priority between Rochestown and Cork City is essential if public transport is to provide a reliable alternative to the car. At present, frequent congestion means that the existing bus service does not provide that reliable alternative. I ask that early delivery of this bus priority would be a recognised aim of CMATS.
The NTA takes decisions on all aspects of our public bus service that can deeply affect the everyday welfare of people living in this part of Cork. Even simple service improvements like bus shelters are a decision of the NTA. Yet the NTA is Dublin-based and Dublin-focused. Communication with the NTA is difficult and at a distance. It is a matter of urgency that the NTA would establish an office in Cork. This is needed now and cannot wait for delivery of CMATS.
Mine was the dubious landmark of having submitted the first motion of our new Council term. I proposed that Cork County Council would create the post of a Tree Protection Officer. In hindsight, I should have used the term “Tree Officer” instead because the concept would be that the role of such an individual would be not just to optimise the protection of existing valuable trees but also to provide professional advice on when trees become dangerous, pruning/maintenance, planting of appropriate species, disputes about trees on shared boundaries, etc. That’s the kind of remit similar roles in UK local authorities have. It was considered at full Council on Monday and received cross-party support. The Chief Executive has the ultimate say when it comes to staffing. He has suggested that the proposal would go to the Environment Strategic Policy Committee for the practicalities to be fleshed out. So that is what will happen next. The introduction to my motion (at the link below) included an outline of some of the extraordinary and sometimes unconsidered multifaceted benefits of trees. They are essentially an intergenerational piece of infrastructure. We have whole Directorates dedicated to other intergenerational pieces of infrastructure!!!