Author Archives: david

Submission in relation to redesign of Mayne Road/ Hole in the Wall Road junction

A proposal for a new junction at Hole in the Wall Road / Mayne Road is on public display until 9th March.

I have made the following submission:

As discussed at the Area Committee, i would like to see alternative options for junction design being considered at this location. In particular, the design set out in this video has a lot to recommend it in terms of safety. I have used junctions like this and found them much better than the design proposed.

It’s quite a simple proposal but I particularly urge anyone who cycles or walks on these roads to have a look at contribute their comments.

 

Fingal agrees to encourage the development of car-free neighbourhoods

The Council today confirmed the following amendment I proposed to the Draft Development Plan:

“At locations where higher density development is being provided, encourage the development of car-free neighbourhoods, where non-motorised transport is allowed and motorised vehicles have access only for deliveries but must park outside the neighbourhood, creating a much better quality public realm with green infrastructure, public health, economic and community benefits.”

It reflects successful experience  in neighbourhoods such as Vauban in Germany and entire suburban towns like Houten in the Netherlands, as well of course in old cities around the world.

 

Fingal agrees to review cycle infrastructure and undertake appropriate remedial works

As recognised in the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF), a lot of the cycle infrastructure provided in recent years has been poorly designed.

Following on from this and the wider commitment in the NCPF to audit existing roads, I proposed the following amendment to the Development Plan.

“Review existing cycle infrastructure which was not designed in line with the Principles of Sustainable Safety in a manner consistent with the National Cycle Manual and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets and undertake appropriate remedial works.”

Following public display, this amendment was confirmed by a margin of 1 vote today.

Fingal agrees to provide 30km/h environment in the vicinity of schools

Following public display, the Council has voted, (by a margin of 1 vote!) to confirm the inclusion of the following in the Development Plan:

“Ensure that as soon as possible, but by the end of the lifetime of the Development Plan, the environment in the immediate vicinity of schools is a safe and attractive low speed (30km/h) environment, and drop-off by car within a given distance restricted.”

The text is copied from the National Cycle Policy Framework; it is something which should be happening at all schools nationwide by 2020.

 

Red and Grey Squirrels in the Howth Special Amenity Area

The issue of squirrels has recently had some media coverage and so I thought it worthwhile to give some background.

A few key facts:
  • Pine martens are associated with success for the red squirrel.
  • Red squirrels are recovering a lot of territory in Ireland they had lost to greys in tandem with the recovery of pine martens.
  • Red squirrels were (re-)introduced to Howth some decades ago.
  • Greys have been moving in which puts the reds at risk.
My  conclusions from this, which I will put to the SAAO Management Committee, are that the only  reasonable and justifiable actions in relation to squirrels would involve encouraging/reintroducing pine martens, if these are practical.
Much of the Howth peninsula is covered by a Special Amenity Area Order. The Management Committee, made up community, recreational and conservation representatives along with local councillors, works within the terms of the order to protect the biodiversity, landscape and amenity of the peninsula.
The questions I asked at the recent Area Committee are here and here
BBC Costing the Earth podcast Reds Return http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pn674
Vincent Wildlife Pine Marten Recovery Project (Wales, England): http://www.pine-marten-recovery-project.org.uk/
NPWS documents:

Final stage of County Development Plan process

I have submitted the following motions in relation to the Amendments to the County Development Plan. The meetings will be on 14th and 16th February.

Cycling 
For background to the cycling motions, please see my report from the previous stage of the Plan.
7.10 Review of cycle infrastructure not designed in line with Principles of Sustainable Safety
That In light of policy 2.5 of the National Cycle Policy Framework, the proposed amendment
“Insert new Objective MT: Review existing cycle infrastructure which was not designed in line with the Principles of Sustainable Safety in a manner consistent with the National Cycle Manual and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets and undertake appropriate remedial works.“
be confirmed.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
7.11 Design roads in accordance with the Principles of Sustainable Safety
That the Amendment agreed by the Council under Agenda item 284/ Motion AI028972
“Insert Objective after MT09: Design roads including cycle infrastructure in line with the Principles of Sustainable Safety in a manner consistent with the National Cycle Manual and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.”
be confirmed.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
7.15 30km/h environment in the immediate vicinity of schools
That the proposed amendment:
“Insert new Objective MT: Ensure that as soon as possible, but by the end of the lifetime of the Development Plan the environment in the immediate vicinity of schools is a safe and attractive low speed (30kph) environment with speed limits strictly enforced, and drop-off by car within a given distance restricted.”
be be amended to
“Insert new Objective MT: Ensure that as soon as possible, but by the end of the lifetime of the Development Plan the environment in the immediate vicinity of schools is a safe and attractive low speed (30kph) environment, and drop-off by car within a given distance restricted.”

(The deletion of the reference to enforcement comes from the fact that the Council has no influence on speed limit enforcement.  Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending this much weaker version: “Support and promote the implementation of policy in the immediate vicinity of schools to provide for a safe and attractive low speed (30kph) environment.”)

SH9.10 Cycle Routes to Kinsealy
That the proposed amendment to add indicative cycle route Abbeville to Kettle’s Lane be confirmed with the addition of “subject to feasibility study”.
That the proposed amendment to add indicative cycle route Portmarnock to Teagasc Kinsealy be confirmed with the addition of “subject to feasibility study”.
That the proposed amendment to add indicative cycle route Balgriffin to Teagasc Kinsealy (along field boundaries east and north of Balgriffin cemetery) be confirmed with the addition of “subject to feasibility study”.
That the proposed amendment to add indicative cycle route Balgriffin to Kinsealy (via Malahide Road) be confirmed with the addition of “subject to feasibility study”.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that none of these routes be included.)
SH14.2 Mark Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network on the Development Plan maps
That the proposed amendment to mark the routes of the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan within Fingal on the relevant Development Plan maps be confirmed.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
4.32 Balbriggan to Skerries cycling/walking scheme
That the proposed amendment:
Insert new Objective Skerries Promote and facilitate the development of the Balbriggan to Skerries cycling/walking Scheme along the Coast Road within the lifetime of this Development Plan”
be altered to now read:
“Insert new Objective Skerries
Promote and facilitate the development of the Balbriggan to Skerries cycling/walking Scheme along the Coast Road within two years of the adoption of this Development Plan”
as requested in the submission received.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this two year time limit not be included.)
Low-carbon development and building
3.15 Low-carbon developments
That the proposed amendment
“Insert new Objective PM at Section 3.4 Sustainable Design and Standards New urban developments in Fingal will be required to be low-carbon developments, in all aspects of layout design and construction”
be confirmed.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
3.16 Low-carbon building materials
That the proposed amendment
“Insert new Objective PM at Section 3.4 Sustainable Design and Standards In general, require the use of low carbon building materials and where available use Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for the assessment of the sustainable use of resources and of the impact of constructions works on the environment.”
be confir(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
Quarries
5.18 Extractive industries
That in light of the SEA assessment that “The deletion of this text is directly negative for biodiversity, water, population, landscape, soil/ landuse.” the deletion proposed in amendment 5.18 not be made.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending this amendment which deletes strict criteria to be met for quarrying.)
5.20 Extractive industries
That in light of the SEA assessment that “The deletion of this text is directly negative for biodiversity, water, population, landscape, soil/ landuse.” the deletion proposed in amendment 5.20 not be made.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending this amendment which deletes strict criteria to be met for quarrying.)
Public transport routes
For background, please see my posts relating to these routes
SH7.7 Public transport reservation Swords to Donabate
That the proposed amendment to insert a public transport reservation Swords to Donabate be confirmed.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
SH9.12 Public transport reservation from Metro West alignment to Balgriffin
That the proposed amendment to insert a public transport reservation – Metro West alignment aka Light Rail Corridor to Balgriffin – be confirmed.
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)
SH9.13 Public transport reservation from Balgriffin to Portmarnock
That the proposed amendment to insert a public transport reservation – Balgriffin to Portmarnock – be confirmed
(Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending that this amendment not be included.)

National Transport Authority willing to fund feasibility study on cycle routes to Kinsealy from Portmarnock, Balgriffin and Holywell

A delegation from Howth / Malahide Area Committee (Cllr. Brian McDonagh, Cllr. Jimmy Guerin and myself) met the National Transport Authority (NTA) last week. We had a productive discussion on a range of issues.

This included the proposed greenway cycle routes between Holywell, Portmarnock and Balgriffin/Belmayne through Kinsealy. The Council agreed last October to my proposal to include these routes in the draft Development Plan. The decision was taken in the context of the possible location of a secondary school at the Teagasc building and the very poor quality of walking and cycling routes in the area at the moment.

The NTA started their consideration from an emphasis that secondary schools need to be provided at walkable locations but recognised the both that that the reuse of an existing building might be a significant factor in the decision, which is ultimately one for neither Fingal County Council nor the NTA, but the Department of Education. We all also noted the potential of these routes to serve other trips between towns and suburbs in South Fingal and the Northside of Dublin City.

In response to the discussion, they proposed that they would fund a feasibility study to look into the potential for routes similar to those included as indicative routes in the draft Development Plan. I am bringing a proposal for such a study to the next Area Committee meeting on 1st March, as well as recommending that the indicative routes be confirmed in the Development Plan.

Submission in relation to bathing waters identification in Broadmeadow Estuary

I made the following submission to the Public Participation in the Identification of Bathing Waters for 2017
Submission: Broadmeadow Estuary
Date Submitted: 27.01.2017 – 1:27pm

Unique Reference Number: CVQ-5169
Observations
Title: Broadmeadow Estuary is widely used for dinghy / small boat sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.

These are all sports which involve frequent contact with the water and therefore require water of bathing water quality.

Organised activities are based in Malahide Yacht Club http://www.myc.ie/, Swords Sailing and Boating Club http://swordssailing.ie/ and Fingal Sailing School http://fingalsailingschool.ie/.

All of these rely on the inner estuary. If figures on the numbers involved in these water activities are required for the assessment, please contact them directly to get the necessary information.
These uses are promoted on the Council-supported https://www.malahide.ie/visit.

 

Malahide Demesne proposal dropped by Council Executive

Following approval by the full Council on 11th July of the combined car park/ multi use area and forest adventure proposal,  a legal challenge was taken by local resident Noel Mahon, one of the Save Malahide Castle Woodland group. Central to the grounds of the challenge were the issues identified by the Council’s Law Agent in her advice of 31st May – that the information put on public display did not comply with the requirements in the legislation.

The Council Executive have now announced that they do not wish to defend the case and are abandoning the proposal.

It is unfortunate that local residents have to resort to legal challenges to achieve adequate information and meaningful public consultation. I hope that the Council Executive and the majority of Councillors who voted for the project will take a lesson from this project.

There is a good practice guide for public participation which we could learn from.. I will work to have the Council implement the Maastricht Recommendations on Promoting Effective Public Participation in Decision-making in Environmental Matters.

The Council Executive’s press release includes:

“It will now, therefore, be necessary to carry out a review of the number of short-term car parking spaces in and adjacent to Malahide Village and, if necessary, identify suitable locations for the provision of additional spaces.”

This of course is what should have been done before any proposal for increased car parking was made. I welcome the study; however I don’t believe it can justify converting any more of Malahide Demesne into carparking. We need to focus on protecting the Demesne and improving access by foot, bicycle and public transport.

Reports on County Development Plan – Cycling motions

Last month’s County Development Plan meetings discussed a wide range of issues. I’m posting some reports in particular on the motions I submitted. I also supported important motions by my Green colleague Roderic O’Gorman and a range of Councillors from all parties.

The largest batch of motions were those on cycling so I’ll address those first.

One of the results of the public display of the draft plan was the receipt of a range of submissions criticising the inadequacy of the policies contained in the draft as regards cycling.These came from a range of parties, including the National Transport Authority which suggested that the policies in relation to cycling in the plan could be strengthened.

In response to these submissions, I submitted a range of proposed amendments, many of which were directly extracted from the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF), particularly the policies and actions identified in the Framework for implementation by local authorities.

In advising the Councillors on the motions submitted, the Council management first claimed that many of the motions submitted were invalid as they didn’t relate to submissions received. This label was applied to 15 of the 21 amendments which I proposed based on the NCPF. When I pointed out their origin this claim did not resurface.

When it came to the discussions, the first two cycling related motions were

  • to mark the cycle routes from the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan on the Development Plan maps the same as the other cycle routes already proposed
  • to provide safe routes to school as part of the process of identifying and procuring new school sites

It was a bit of a surprise that, unfortunately, the Planning Department opposed both of these. The majority of Councillors supported my motion to mark the GDA routes on the maps despite the official advice against it.

However they also opposed my proposal that safe walking and cycling routes would be provided to new schools  as part of the school development process and a slim majority of Councillors voted it down. The media, starting with the cycling journalism website Irishcycle.com, naturally took an interest in this and reported it the following week: Irishcycle.com, TheJournal.ie, DublinLive.ie.

At the following meeting, the officials continued to oppose the cycling motions and a number of other important motions were defeated including a proposal to implement HGV management strategies in urban areas, a proposal to carry out remedial measures to existing cyclist unfriendly urban roads and a proposal to provide safe cycling and walking routes to existing schools during the lifetime of the plan including an audit of all schools. These motions were all based on the National Cycle Policy Framework adopted in 2009, but despite that the officials convinced a majority of Councillors to vote them down.

At a subsequent meeting, the media attention to the vote against safe routes to schools started to have an impact and my motions to provide cycle routes from Holywell, Portmarnock and Balgriffin to Kinsealy to serve the proposed new secondary school there and the existing primary schools were all successful. So overall, a mixture of good and bad news.

 

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Proposed greenway style cycle route from Kettle’s Lane to Kinsealy via Abbeville

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Proposed greenway style cycle route from Portmarnock to Kinsealy

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Proposed greenway style cycle route from Balgriffin to Kinsealy

The amendments to the Draft Plan are on public display until 2nd December. At this stage they are only proposed amendments; they could be overturned following the consultation. So if you agree with any of the amendments, make sure to make a submission!

I’m still following up on the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) issue. The media reports on the motion for safe routes to schools which was defeated, led to me learning from a member of the public of the existence of Planning Circular_pssp_8_2010_on NCPF_and_development_plans. This circular requires the Council to make the Development Plan consistent with the NCPF.

All of the cycling related motions had already been dealt with when I received the Circular but I immediately drew the attention of the next Council meeting dealing with the Development Plan to the obligations placed on the Council by the Circular. The Council officials were unwilling to recognise that the Circular had any significance to the process or to revisit the issues.

I have written to the Minister for Housing and Planning in relation to this.