Dublin Port Development Works

Nov 06 2014 Posted by Office Administraton

BurfordThe Dublin Port Company (DPC) is proposing a major development of its infrastructure. The Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) project is currently going through the planning procedure and, in October 2014, was the subject of an oral hearing under the auspices of An Bord Pleanála. It is a project that may have significant impacts on diving in Dublin Bay.
The project includes a re-configuration of the port itself plus large scale dredging of the Liffey channel, all with the aim of facilitating the very largest ferries, cargo ships, and cruise liners. These operations have the potential to disrupt diving activity in Dublin Bay. It is proposed that the material dredged from the Liffey channel be transported by barge to the Burford Bank and dumped. The Burford Bank is a licensed marine dump site but is actually located quite centrally within Dublin Bay.
Our Scientific Officer, Dr Tim Butter, submitted a written statement highlighting a number of potential concerns including the generation of extreme underwater noise during piling of the harbour walls, and the release of suspended solids into the water, which could reduce underwater visibility. Dr Butter followed this up with an oral statement to the An Bord Pleanála hearing.
Although not connected to diver safety, a likely concern to our Dublin-based divers is that the Burford Bank is located entirely within the new Rockabill to Dalkey Island Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Should planning permission be granted, the DPC will have to apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for a dumping at sea licence. This will be the first such application since the SAC was proposed in December 2012. The intention is to dump 6.3 million m3 of dredged material, including some contaminated material, right into the middle of this SAC. This is a lot of material. In fact, it is sufficient to fill Croke Park almost three times over. And not just the pitch – the entire stadium right up to the level of the roof of the Cusack Stand! If the application is successful, dredging (and dumping) is scheduled to run from October to March every year for six years, starting in October 2015.
Many of our members, and the wider public, will find it hard to understand the logic behind the plan to dump such a mind boggling quantity of material in an EU protected area for harbour porpoise.
For more information on the ABR project, go to: dublinportabr.ie.