Monthly Archive for January, 2016

Transport Infrastructure Ireland must act to provide guarantees on M50 noise

Residents in Laurel Lodge and along the M50 must not be subject to continuous noise pollution.

Residents in Laurel Lodge and along the M50 must not be subject to continuous noise pollution.

Since getting elected to the Council, I’ve been working to get Transport Infrastructure Ireland to take steps to commit to residents living along the M50 that it will reduce noise pollution coming from the Motorway. Transport Infrastructure Ireland is the body that has taken over responsibility for roads and motorways from the National Roads Authority (NRA) in the last 6 months.

In September 2014, I and other local councillors attended a public meeting arranged to discuss the persistent noise and air pollution issues being generated by the M50. Since then, I have been pursuing the issue within Fingal County Council, and successfully lobbied to get a noise monitor installed in the area.

I have repeatedly attempted to get the National Roads Authority to attend a meeting of the Council to answer questions about the pollution issues and how they can be addressed. The NRA has now been restructured into a new organisation called Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). At my request, Fingal’s Director of Services for Operations, Ethna Felten, wrote to TII regarding possible measures to reduce noise and air pollution along the M50. At this time, TII are taking the position that they only have to undertake sound-proofing works on new roads or when works are being undertaken on an existing road”.

Currently, I am focusing on achieving two specific goals. Firstly, I want Fingal to secure a commitment from TII that when they are next resurfacing the M50, they will use a noise reducing surface, such as is used at the Newlands Cross bridge, along the entire Dublin 15 section. Secondly, I have a motion down to insert an objective in the new Fingal Development Plan, which is currently being drafted, that noise reduction barriers would be installed along the Laurel Lodge boundary.

While the M50 is a hugely important piece of transport infrastructure, it is not fair that those living close to it should have their quality of life affected, particularly since it was widened. Transport Infrastructure Ireland must take basic steps to reduce the noise levels for people living along the most noisy sections, particularly at Laurel Lodge and Diswellstown.

Response to me from Ethna Felten, FCC Director of Services for Operations

Response to me from Ethna Felten, FCC Director of Services for Operations

 

National Transport Authority must give commitment regarding consultation with residents in even of level crossing closures

Letter from NTA confirming intention to close level crossings on Maynooth line

Letter from NTA confirming intention to close level crossings on Maynooth line

I have written to the National Transport Authority (NTA), calling on it to commit to creating a scheme for real consultation with residents living around level crossings. I made this call in response to a letter I received from the NTA in which the organisation again stated its intention to close level crossings along the Maynooth line.

There is deep mistrust about the approach that the NTA takes to closing level crossings within communities living close to them. This stems from the botched attempt to close the Porterstown Road crossing in 2013, which was undertaken without any sort of consultation with locals, outside that provided for under the statutory processes. Since then, both Minister Donohoe and before him Minister Varadkar have publically committed that, in the event of future moves to close level crossings, “consultation with local residents will take place long before any plans are put on public display”.

This week, the Chief Executive of the NTA has responded to a proposal of mine regarding how consultation could occur in the future. In the letter, she confirmed that it was still the intention of the NTA to close the level crossings. However, on the issue of consultation, she merely stated the way in which this would work will not be determined “until the design and planning phase of the project commences”.

This type of language concerns me, as it suggests that the consultation won’t be in a position to actually influence the planning phase. As such, I’ve written to Ms. Graham again, seeking that she firstly commits that the NTA does actually agree to early consultation with local residents about future plans to close level crossings and secondly, that it will draw up a draft scheme regarding how this consultation will operate.

While I do not believe that the closure of any level crossings is imminent, closures will follow from any future upgrading of the Maynooth line to DART standard. It is vital that the NTA acts now to give clarity on how consultation with affected residents will take place.