Threats | River Vartry Protection Society

By: River Vartry  05/12/2011

Archive for the 'Threats' Category

John Clark has produced a very substantial study on the River Vartry for his UCD Masters Thesis. The study points out the pressure that the River is under and a detailed look at what needs to be done. It is the start of defining the Compensatory flows which are required by the EU. We hope to have permission from UCD to publish the study here, but in the meantime (on behalf of all of us) would like to congratulate John on getting a well deserved A for his Thesis. Great going!

Often we remember to complain when things go wrong but don’t bother to compliment when things go right. We would like to thank An Bord Pleanála for their decision on the Ryan Development PL27.235089 in Clora, Ashford. This appeal by the contractor was against the Wicklow County Council who refused permission to this development on the basis of it being premature even though it was part of the Local Area plan. There were objectors (including ourselves) that joined the Wicklow co.co. but had additional objections on the basis that the surface water was being routed directly to the River Vartry above the Salmon Beds and to do this the developer had proposed to drill into the protected structure of the Nun’s Cross Bridge. It is clear from the decision that An Bord Pleanála read carefully and with a keen eye, every submission and every detail, rather than simply supporting the Wicklow County Council and rejecting the appeal. The thoroughness that they exhibited in rejecting means a lot to us and to the neighbors in the area. We think you are doing a great job truly acting as a means for people to have a say in what goes on around them. Your fine work is appreciated.

A proposed Breaker’s Yard sought an Exemption from Planning Permission to locate this within 25 meters of the River Vartry, Broadlough and the Murrough. This was approved by WCC without full diligence regarding current Planning Laws. This may mean that we will have to go to An Bord Pleanála to get this reversed, although we are pursuing other avenues with the Friends of the Murrough. (Cooperation with the Friends of the Murrough is one of the results of the meeting of the River Vartry Protection Society).

In order to operate, they need an Environment Permit where there is opportunity to object up until the 30th of October. If anyone wishes to object, can they call me on 087-2561074 and I will help. The ground of objection are Sound Pollution, Sight Pollution, and a great likelihood of seepage into the River both though the soil and due to runoff both in storm and normal conditions. As well, some of the byproducts are hazardous waste and there is not sufficient information to assess whether these will be handled properly.

This is a new and surprise Threat and we had hope that we could improve the conditions on the Murrough to make it less heavy industrial not increase it. This is against the River Basin Management Plans for the Area and should be stopped. We would like to see the Murrough one day be a good and friendly place for tourists, not a place of noise and scrap.

The Wicklow County Council has denied permission to Michael Ryan on a proposed development near Nun’s Cross bridge on the basis that they have not decided how to develop the area AA9 designated in the Ashford Area Plan and granting permission would be premature. This development threatened both the River and the Nun’s Cross Bridge, suggesting that they would deposit unfiltered runoff from the development directly into the River. The method proposed was to drill into the 1700′s arch of the Bridge. This was opposed by many residents as will as the River Vartry Protection Society so we are pleased that the WCC supported our position, denying permission.

An Bord Pleanála confirms the Wicklow Council’s decision to refuse permission on an appeal by the Devil’s Glen Equestrian Centre regarding the gallops. The two reasons were regarding changing the existing entrance and damaging wall, trees and hedgerows, and that the area being prone to flooding and “the site cannot be drained satisfactorily, notwithstanding the proposed use of a proprietary wastewater treatment system. The proposed development would, therefore, be prejudicial to public health.” This is a good decision and will protect the river from certain pollution, but does not address the fact that the work for the gallops has been done without permission and has caused increased soil runoff into the river. Since the gallops was completed against an order of the Wicklow County Council to cease, we suspect that this will not be the end of this story.

Pat yourselves on the back! We have achieved the result we wanted from the hard work of everyone. An Taisce, Friends of the Murrough and Ourselves asked An Bord Pleanála to intercede in the matter and last Friday we received notification of their decision.

DECISION

Direct the local authority to prepare an environmental impact statement in respect of the said proposed development based on the reason and considerations below.

REASONS AND CONSIDERATIONS
Having regard to the sensitive nature of the River Vartry (a designated salmonid river) which discharges to the sea a short distance downstream at the Murrough Wetlands (a costal area designated both as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA), to the likely interaction between the proposed groundwater abstraction and the flow in the river and the possible negative impacts on the ecology of the river system, particularly at low flow, it is considered that the proposed development should be subjected to environmental impact assessment.
In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation that an environmental impact statement was not required, the Board noted his comments to the effect that the impacts on the River Vartry fisheries were likely and impacts on the SAC and SPA were possible. The Board considered that an environmental impace assessment was appropriate having regard to the sensitivity of the river and estuarine eco-systems.

This does not mean that it is over with the threat from the Water Scheme, only that the WCC must do this in the public eye. We will be pressing them for Local involvement and assistance in preparation of the EIS and that disclosures are made of all documents that might shed light on how much effect to the River they anticipated. (Currently we have requests for documents that have been refused by the WCC that are about to be released by the Commissioner of Information).

There is a new planning application 09500 placed with the Wicklow County Council. This contains a plan to discharge all of the Surface Water from the 71 dwellings into the River Vartry via a pipe that will run down the road and drill down into the Bridge 3 meters. The pipe will then run inside the oldest part of the Protected Nun’s Cross Bridge structure (pre 1730) and out through its oldest arch. The water will contain pollutants from the paving and roof runoff which will be deposited in the river just above its most sensitive Salmon Beds. We have objected as a group but would like everyone to view the objection themselves.

As well you are encouraged to make your own submission for a cost of 20 euro at the Wicklow County Council.

We have had several comments that were posted and are re-posted here for viewing.

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I’m amazed that you know and Wicklow Co. Co. know where the sewage that is being dumped in the river is coming from and yet nothing is happening to stop it.  Is there no law being broken ?

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admin answer:

It has gone on much too long and really should be stopped immediately. There are some long range plans to fix the situation but an immediate action should be taken rather than waiting. There is an EU ELD (Environment Liability Directive) see important links and the full document is there. I have not have time to study all of the documentation fully. It would be nice if someone else could “bone up” on this for future reference and be our ELD expert. It looks as if it might be powerful legislation with teeth, should or when or if it has been placed into Irish Legislation.

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i passed over the river at 6.30pm today and there was serious grey pollution coming down the river from somewhere above ashford.I informed the authorities but when the perpetrators only get fined 500 euros it just seems pointless after all who gives a #### about a few fish eh

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admin answer:

I assume that is was Ashford Bridge. We were by the river early and did not see anything, but it is spillage from Devil’s Glen and can be very direct. I will ask Kieran if they got smell yesterday as often happens. We need to really put our attention to this, once the Water Scheme business is quiet. after Tommorrow.

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Good news from the Wicklow County Council that they have decided to withdraw the application for the Plan8 temporarily, while they wait for information to assess whether an EIA will be necessary.  There are several open issues still to be resolved, which are:

1- Have the CPOs been removed from An Bord Pleanala? It would be a great waste of money and resources if they have not been stopped or suspended.

2- The Wicklow Co. Co. has commissioned McCarthy Hyder to do a simple study.  McCarthy Hyder had originally advised the WCC that an environmental study was not necessary. It is our opinion that this advice was not in the best interest of the River and that the eventual author of the EIA will be someone that exhibits a bi-partisan concern over the river and that the process is monitored by An Bord Pleanála, the Fisheries and the EPA.

3- There were over 60 objections all asking for an EIA. It is certainally clear that there is sufficient public concern to make one manditory under EU and Irish Law.

Can everyone that objected and has received an acknowledgement from the Wicklow Co. Co. to please write back to them, thanking them for re-thinking and pointing out to them the points above?

There seems to be silence from the Wicklow County Council so far, without acknowledgement of our submissions or retraction of the Plan 8 process.  It is a week after the closing of objections and silence.  It is important that we have a position soon, because the intention is to hold the first meeting of the River Vartry Protection Society and invite the councillors for a portion of the time to make sure they are informed of all that is happening.  Sometimes there is a disconnect between what the office does and what is reported to the Councillors.  It is important that they do not only rely on the information supplied in the Manager’s Report on submissions, but hear first hand from members of the public.  This will still be important even if the Plan 8 is temporarily withdrawn, only we will have more time to arrange in that case.

The Wicklow Co. Co. has commissioned McCarthy Hyder to do a simple study. McCarthy Hyder had originally advised the WCC that an environmental study was not necessary. It is our opinion that this advice was not in the best interest of the River and that the eventual author of the EIA will be someone that exhibits a bi-partisan concern over the river and that the process is monitored by An Bord Pleanála, the Fisheries and the EPA.


Other products and services from River Vartry

05/12/2011

Active | River Vartry Protection Society

At our first meeting in the fall, we discussed the “Scientific Approach” which was to find a way to equate “flow and level” to “oxygen and temperature” and the necessity of scientific help to develop this equation for the River Vartry. This appeal by the contractor was against the Wicklow County Council who refused permission to this development on the basis of it being premature even though it was part of the Local Area plan.


05/12/2011

River Basin Management | River Vartry Protection Society

I am aware that the Fisheries Board have been and will be working with the ERBD to see that their interests are covered, but all of us who are around the River Vartry should be involved. It is an urgent situation that we now complete the initiative set out in the River Basin Management Plan for the Vartry and not wait until 2015 when it must be complete.


05/12/2011

Administration | River Vartry Protection Society

We need to have a submission drafted that will encourage the Wicklow County Council to discuss Rivers for other purposes than just Drinking Water. This plan is the umbrella plan for the area and is very lacking in regards to all the Rivers and specifically the Vartry. An Taisce are organising a public meeting in Roundwood on Monday 16th November at 8pm at the Roundwood Community Hall.


05/12/2011

Ecology | River Vartry Protection Society

The River Vartry Protection Society welcomes its members and selected guests to the first meeting of the Society at Hunters Hotel, tonight Thursday the 1st of October at 8 PM.


05/12/2011

Fish | River Vartry Protection Society

At our first meeting in the fall, we discussed the “Scientific Approach” which was to find a way to equate “flow and level” to “oxygen and temperature” and the necessity of scientific help to develop this equation for the River Vartry. It is an urgent situation that we now complete the initiative set out in the River Basin Management Plan for the Vartry and not wait until 2015 when it must be complete.


05/12/2011

Politics | River Vartry Protection Society

It is clear from the decision that An Bord Pleanála read carefully and with a keen eye, every submission and every detail, rather than simply supporting the Wicklow County Council and rejecting the appeal. This appeal by the contractor was against the Wicklow County Council who refused permission to this development on the basis of it being premature even though it was part of the Local Area plan.


05/12/2011

Polution | River Vartry Protection Society

I’m amazed that you know and Wicklow Co. Co. know where the sewage that is being dumped in the river is coming from and yet nothing is happening to stop it. It looks as if it might be powerful legislation with teeth, should or when or if it has been placed into Irish Legislation. We were by the river early and did not see anything, but it is spillage from Devil’s Glen and can be very direct.