A number of people have been in contact with me regarding the proposal to lay a sewer pipe through the Tolka Valley in Dublin 15. In my submission to Fingal County Council regarding the plan to build storm-water storage tanks beside Blanchardstown Hospital (this is part of the wider scheme), I have asked to Council to reconsider proceeding with the plan to build a new duplicate sewer pipe through the Tolka Valley beside the existing pipe without undertaking a full Environmental Impact Assessment.
Over the last number of years, between € 2-3 million have been spent on works developing the Tolka Valley Park. The area is heavily used by locals for recreational purposes. Further, the river itself is fished by local youth angling groups such as the Tolka River Valley Alliance (TREA). All these activities will face major disruption and some may be permanently stopped, by the current plans being put forward by the Council. As such I believe that it is vital that Fingal County Council undertake a full Environmental Impact Assessment, setting out a detailed assessment of realistic alternative routes on social, environmental and economic criteria.
It strikes me as hugely wasteful that, having put so much resources into the Tolka Valley Park, that the Council are now prepared to undo much of this by implementing major construction works to lay this sewer pipe. This, combined with the lack of consultation with local residents and interest groups, leads me to believe that in the short term, the Council must undertake a proper EIA.
Looking to the long term, I am renewing the call I have made on a number of occasions for the creation of a Catchment Management Scheme for the river. This can be done under the Fisheries Amendment Act, 1999 and would bring together farmers, anglers, tourism and recreational interests, the Fisheries Boards, State, public and voluntary groups along the entire length of the river. I believe that it is only through undertaking such a coordinated approach can we ultimately ensure that the river is protected as the major environmental resource that it is.
Below is a copy of the submission I made on behalf of the Dublin West Green Party to FCC
Mr. John Mulcahy,
Water Services Project Office,
Fingal County Council
Re: Stormwater Storage Tanks, located in Tolka Valley Park, and other issues associated with the 9C Sewer development
Dear Mr. Mulcahy,
I would ask you to take account of the following points raised on behalf of the Dublin West Green Party. While we realise that these relate more to the wider 9C Sewer development, but nevertheless we feel that it is vital that these are noted.
1. The Dublin West Green Party has considerable concerns over the routing of the proposed 9C duplicate sewer through the ecologically sensitive Tolka Valley which is also an important community resource;
2. The proposed development has the potential to undermine the considerable work which has been undertaken to date by ‘Tolka Valley Community Forum’ including the significant capital investment by the Fingal County Council Parks Department and volunteering on the ground by local interst groups.
3. There has been a lack of public consultation, particularly in relation to the damage that the development will do to sections of the Tolka Valley.
4. Before advancing this proposal any further, we would ask that a full Environmental Impact Assessment should be prepared setting out a detailed assessment of realistic alternative routes on social, environmental and economic criteria.