Category Archives: Local area

Garryduff Woods forest road licence application and felling licence

A licence for the clearfell of 6.54 hectares of trees in Garryduff Woods was granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to Coillte in October 2018. The area that Coillte intends to cut is at the southern end of the forest. 6% of the trees in this area are broadleaf oak and beech, estimated as having been planted in 1863. A very small area is Douglas Fir and Juniper Larch. The remaining almost 60% is Sitka Spruce planted in 1970. The felling licence is at this link:

I’m guessing not many of us knew that a felling licence had been granted to Coillte for Garryduff Woods. When a felling licence application is received by DAFM, they advertise it on their website and there is a period of time during which the public can make comment. However there was no requirement for Coillte to put up a site notice.

What has alerted us to the possible loss of the Garryduff Woods that we know and love is that Coillte has now applied for a Forest Road Licence application to remove trees from the area it proposes to clearfell. They must stick up a site notice for this. The proposed road would run for 360 metres alongside the lower river. Building it would involve clearfelling a width of at least 15 metres. The Forest Road Licence application is here:

Coillte is obliged to replant the area they clearfell. The felling licence application shows that their replanting intentions are for 100% Sitka Spruce for future harvesting.

This is devastating for all of us who love Garryduff Woods, who rely on it for recreation, for space, for a bit of wildness in an urban environment. It means the loss of habitat for the red squirrel, badger and so many other avian, mammal and insect species.

We are in a period of public consultation on the Forest Road Licence application. You can make a submissions free of charge in relation until 26th June 2020. Your submission can be sent by post to:
Approvals Section, Forestry Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford
or by email to:
forestryappenq@agriculture.gov.ie.

You can express your views in your submission and they will be taken into account by a Forestry Inspector when s/he is considering the application. Make sure you provide your name and address and quote the reference number: CN86326.

This is my daughter during lockdown in the area of the forest which Coillte wants to decimate to build the forest road. Heartbreaking.

My motions to a meeting of the carrigaline municipal district, 15-06-2020

1. That Ballygarvan village would be included as one of the recommended locations for installation of vehicle-activated speed signage. Ballygarvan has been identified by the Gardai as being a location that would benefit from such digital speed signage.

The response from the Area Engineer was that although she has planned to undertake speed surveys in a number of towns and villages around the Municipal District and to install vehicle-activated speed signage on the advice of the findings, if the Gardaí have already made a recommendation for such signage in a location, she would consider fast-tracking its installation in that location. I am to send on the correspondence from the Gardaí.  

2. That updates would be provided on the following ongoing key projects in our Municipal District:
a. Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan
b. Glenbrook – Carrigaline/Ringaskiddy Greenway 
c. Ringaskiddy Public Realm Enhancement Plan
d. Ringaskiddy Village Enhancement Funding for Gobby Beach

The written response from the Municipal District Officer was as follows:

a. The procurement process for the TPREP is nearing a conclusion and the appointment of a Consultant is imminent. Consultation with Members and other stakeholders will be an important element of the plan preparation and we will be in a position to advise of associated timelines once the Consultant has been appointed. The Public Realm team were engaged during the preparation of the consultancy brief – and will be important stakeholders in the process – so both projects are aligned.

b. Traffic and Transportation Section is hoping to issue consultancy brief in Quarter 3 of 2020.

c and d. Carrigaline MD office is working with the Architects Department to progress a design to inform a phased approach to the overall public realm design for Ringaskiddy. COVID-19 has had an impact on the progress of these plans. Plans will be shared with the community association and with members once progressed in advance of a Part 8 Planning Application. Gobby Beach will form part of these plans and the balance of funding previously allocated under the Village Enhancement Fund remains available.

3. That Cork County Council would cut the grass verges on the L6518 from Moog to Ringaskiddy National School and on the R613 from Barnahely Cemetery to the junction with the N28.

The Area Engineer said that she would follow up on why the cutting did not take place on the cemetery to N28 section of the R613. Due to budgetary constraints, she said it was not the Area Office’s intention to cut road verges insofar as possible and so it was unlikely that the L6518 would be done.

Submissions to a proposed IDA pumping station/outfall in loughbeg, ringaskiddy

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:

My commentary on the above NIS is here:

Planning Application for Marino Point

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 …

My submission to planning application 19/6562 for development of 40 No. apartments in 2 separate 3 and 4 storey blocks at Drake’s Point, Knocknagore, Crosshaven, Co. Cork

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’s consultation on selecting sludge hubs

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.

My submission to the consultation is here …

Report on the recent upgrade to the Shannonpark roundabout

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.

The report and appendices are here: