Thursday 27 September 2007

Massive wall needed to save city from 'devastating floods'

DUBLIN needs a massive coastal defence wall linking Howth and Dun Laoghaire if the type of devastating flooding which has struck the capital in recent years is to be averted.

And a major report on the future of Dublin Bay calls for a full relocation of Dublin Port to allow housing and offices to be built in the heart of the capital city.

The report, commissioned by the city council, proposes building a 'tidal barrage structure' and using waters in Dublin Bay to generate power through use of tidal energy.

It also proposes building a new island -- to be called South Bull Island -- which would allow a freshwater reservoir to be built which could provide drinking water for the city.

The radical measures are put forward in the report 'Dublin Bay: An Integrated Economic, Cultural and Social Vision for Sustainable Development'.

It highlights the 'vital role' that Dublin Port plays in the development of the city, but says there is a 'growing realisation' that the port lands are 'strategically important' and offer potential for residential and employment-generating business opportunities.

Moving the port is a "robust and compelling option", it says.

"Dublin is constrained by its capacity to grow and to generate new employment by a lack of space," it says. "The status quo with the port remaining on site means there is no additional capacity for growth. Full relocation of the port and development of the vacated site for a mixed use of residential, public and employment space offers the best long-term impact for Dublin."

Redevelopment of the port lands would allow the creation of a new 'city quarter', provide homes for 'at least' 55,000 people and the option would be 'economically very beneficial'.

But it warns the relocation would be expensive given the 'high level' of infrastructure required for a busy port. The process could take up to 12 years.

Informed sources said last night that the report did not offer a solution on how the port could be moved, and there was no alternative location identified.

"It seems to be a property play. The value of the port is big to the economy, and this is like saying building on Tara Street or Connolly Station is fine because you can bus people in and you won't have the noise from trains."

The plan also proposes linking the 1,700-acre Phoenix Park into the city by developing a 'tree lined boulevard' from the park gates alongside the River Liffey.

To develop the capital into a 'truly world class city' a 'new image' must be established with iconic buildings and public spaces. Turning Dublin Bay into a marine reserve is also proposed.

But its proposals to tackle flooding in the city are by far the most radical elements.

It considers four options, saying that flooding of large tracts of the city is 'inevitable' unless preventative measures are taken.

The options include building a 'tidal barrage structure' -- or flood defence wall -- between Dun Laoghaire and Howth, using the water in the bay to generate power. The structure could be used as a road or rail link.

Another option could see flood defence walls built between Howth and Bull Island, and between the ends of the north and south Bull walls. A 'South Bull Island' could be constructed 'some distance' offshore which would be used for recreation purposes. Tidal generators for electricity production could be included, as well as wind turbines.

The report also envisages the creation of a freshwater reservoir which would be used to provide drinking water for the capital.

Irish Independent

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