AN EXISTING risk of flooding in Clontarf, Sandymount and Ringsend would be exacerbated by Dublin Port’s plans to infill 52 acres of Dublin Bay, a Bord Pleanála hearing heard yesterday.
Citing a range of expert opinions, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2003 report entitled Climate Change, Scenarios and Impacts for Ireland , the campaign group Dublin Bay Watch said the planting of 52 acres of “hard material” in Dublin Bay represented a “considerable flooding risk” in addition to that posed by rising sea levels.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, An Bord Pleanála senior inspector Brendan Wyse was told by Liam O’Dwyer that the range of expertise arrayed against the port company’s plan was extensive.
He cited from research by the EPA, UCC in collaboration with the Hydraulics and Marine Research Centre, as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to emphasise the risk of more intense storms occurring more frequently.
Dublin, he said, was cited in a number of studies as being a low-lying coastal area which was “very seriously at risk” from flooding.
Fellow Dublin Bay Watch member Peter Bailey said the EPA report had concluded the impacts of “sea level rise will be most apparent in the major cities of Cork, Limerick, Dublin and Galway” and this was a serious problem where strategic infrastructure was located.
In a legal submission on behalf of Dublin Bay Watch and the Clontarf Residents’ Association, barrister Dónall Ó’Laoire said the infill was contrary to the EU birds directive, the EU habitats directive, the directive on environmental impact assessments, and proper planning and development.
Dublin Port Company has told the inquiry the increase in port capacity provided by the infill is a matter of strategic economic importance to the State.