Divers Against Dumping. Media release

May 26 2016 Posted by Office Administraton

The Dublin Port Company, (DPC), plans the imminent dredging of Dublin port. Spoil resulting from the dredging will be dumped in the Rockabill to Dalkey Island Special Area of Conservation (SAC), specifically at the Burford Bank which lies in the middle of Dublin Bay. This is also within the UNESCO Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve.

Divers Against Dumping, (DAD), an association of organisations, businesses and clubs that share a common interest in the protection of Irelands underwater habitats and heritage has valid reason to suspect that this spoil ismildly to moderately contaminated.

fintan keating 8The permit being used by DPC to dump this spoil was issued in 2011 before the area was designated an SAC.  If the same permit application were to be made today, it would have to go through an appropriate assessment. The extended use of this permit has not undergone any public consultation contrary to the Aarhus Convention,  Articles 4 and 5 of Directive 2003/35/EC on public participation. Under the Convention, the public has a right to participate in decision-making in environmental matters.

Reports as submitted by DPC to the Environmental Protection Agency appear to show that in previous dumping operations the terms of the licence to dump spoil on the Burford Bank were not adhered to. Evidence shows that contaminated material dumped on or on the way to the agreed dump site did not stay in the planned location but quickly shifted around Dublin Bay. Should Dublin Port Company go ahead with this latest plan to dump spoil, this will happen again and the contaminated material may enter the food chain

Special Areas of Conservation are created under the EU Habitats Directive to protect vulnerable habitats and animal species. The Rockabill to Dalkey Island SAC has been designated to protect the harbour porpoise, the smallest member of the whale and dolphin group, and rocky reef habitats, both requiring protection due to their vulnerability to pollution

While Divers Against Dumping accept the necessity to dredge the channels in Dublin Port we strongly oppose the use of a European Special Area of Conservation as the waste ground for dumping spoil.

More sustainable options for dealing with dredged spoil should be investigated.

Further information: Contact Louise at dublinbay@diving.ie, Tel 01 2844601. Full release follows.

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