CHEPA Press Release - 28-06-08
Yesterday the Strategic Infrastructure
Department of An Bord Pleanála decided to refuse planning permission
to the Port of Cork to reclaim 18 hectares of the Oyster Bank off
Ringaskiddy from Cork Harbour, and to develop a new container terminal
and RO-RO facility. The two reasons stated for the refusal concerned
the inadequate road infrastructure serving Ringaskiddy and the impossibility
of there ever being a rail connection to the facility.
The decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission to the Port of Cork for a new €160 million container terminal was greeted with disappointment by the port while local environmental campaigners said the decision had vindicated the planning process.
The Port of Cork had applied to An Bord Pleanala under the Strategic Infrastructure Act for permission to develop the new terminal on a 37 hectare site at Oysterbank in Ringaskiddy in the Lower Harbour to replace the existing container terminal at Tivoli.
An Bord Pleanála held an oral hearing into the application which ran for 15 days before its inspector, Paul Caprani but today the board ruled that the proposal was contrary to proper planning for the area and refused the application.
An Bord Pleanála said that while it accepted the need to move port activities from Tivoli Docks, it believed that the Ringaskiddy site was not adequately served by a road network capable of taking the extra traffic generated.
The proposal would result in much port related traffic traversing the city road network and would exacerbate serious traffic congestion at strategic interchanges at Bloomfield, Dunkettle, Kinsale Road and the Jack Lynch Tunnel, said the board
Moving the container terminal to Ringaskiddy would also mean that it would be unable to make use of rail freight carrying facilities in the future and would therefore represent “a retrograde step” in terms of sustainable transport planning, An Bord Pleanála ruled
Port of Cork Chief Executive, Brendan Keating said that the Port was very disappointed with the decision but that the port would spend the next three months examining the decision closely and teasing out its implications for future port development.
“The need for a new container terminal and multi-purpose roll-on roll-off berth is urgent and Bord Pleanála had already accepted that our application clearly qualified for processing under the terms of the Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006,” he said.
“The Port of Cork needs to bring forward new proposals for facilities to be considered. We have an obligation to our customers and equally we have to provide the necessary infrastructure to handle growth in trade.
This is a setback and means that we must be vigorous and comprehensive with new proposals,” said Mr Keating, adding the port would only look at seeking a judicial review of the board’s decision as ” a very last option”.
Mr Keating said that that port will be able to continue operating at Tivoli up until 2012 but will face a serious challenge to cope with container traffic after that but the port authorities remained convinced that it will be able to find a solution to the matter.
All container traffic is currently shipped out of Tivoli by road and given that 60 per cent of its container business is destined for Co Cork, and the low level of rail connectivity in the county, it was difficult to see what role rail could play in developing business, he said.
The An Bord Pleanala decision was welcomed by Cork Harbour Environmental Protection Association, which had objected to the proposal.
The body said the National Roads Authority had indicated it would be 2011 at best before it could start upgrading the N28 to Ringaskiddy.
© 2008 The Irish Times
THE Port of Cork company has been hit with a legal bill of almost €250,000 following the decision on its container terminal.
An Bord Pleanála awarded the costs against the company after ruling against its plans to build a €225 million facility at its Oysterbank site in the lower reaches of Cork harbour.
The costs are associated with the Bord’s oral hearing into the proposed container terminal project, which ran for three weeks in April after more than 500 written submissions were made objecting to the project.
As part of its decision, the Bord ordered the port to pay:
n€176,000 towards the costs of holding the oral hearing, conducting the investigation and its inspector’s costs;
n€20,000 towards Cork Co Council’s costs for legal and other experts who gave evidence at the hearing;
nand almost €50,000 towards the hefty legal fees and expert costs incurred by the Cork Harbour Environmental Protection Association (CHEPA), the main objector to the project.
It is estimated that CHEPA, which was represented by solicitor, Joe Noonan, at the hearing, spent close to €150,000 presenting its case.
Mr Noonan said it was always the view of residents that this project should be rejected on planning grounds.
“The pressure on communities involved in cases like this is immense. It is to their great credit that they weathered that storm,” Mr Noonan said.
Monkstown resident Don Teegan, who was involved with the CHEPA campaign, said locals in Monkstown, Passage West and Cobh, had dipped into their own pockets to fund the campaign.
“It cost us close to €150,000 in financial terms but in emotional terms, it was the equivalent of 10 years of our lives — blood, sweat and tears,” he said.
“The port had senior counsel, junior counsel, solicitors, PR gurus, a barrage of experts and a backroom team who could have proved that water runs uphill.
“But we have people paying through standing orders every week to help fund our campaign.
“We set up fundraising events and we hope yesterday’s positive decision for us will encourage more people to help us clear our loans.”
THE Port of Cork is considering scaled down plans for a new container terminal after its plans for a €160 million super terminal were shot down.
The board of the port company met yesterday to discuss its options after An Bórd Pleanála refused planning permission for the proposed new facility at Oysterbank in Ringaskiddy.
The project was one of the first processed through the State’s Strategic Infrastructure Bill system designed to fast-track large infrastructural projects.
But after considering its inspector’s report, compiled after a three-week oral hearing held in April, the board said the project should not go ahead because of poor road infrastructure and the complete lack of rail links.
It was the first project refused using the fast-track process. The decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Solicitor Joe Noonan, who represented the Cork Harbour Environmental Protection Agency, said residents are delighted their argument the project could never proceed on planning grounds was accepted.
Port chief executive Brendan Keating described the decision as a setback and said the port must be “vigorous and comprehensive with new proposals”.
“The Port of Cork is adamant the growth in trade needs to be facilitated by the port and the economy of the region is dependent upon the port’s infrastructure which must have the capacity to handle growing volumes of trade,” he said.
Cork Chamber president Joe Gantly said he was disappointed with the decision which he said will have a knock-on impact on wider economic development in the region. He called on the Government to invest in crucial transport links around the city.
His calls were backed by Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune: “The idea that this development could have been approved without the N28 being first upgraded was always unlikely.
“The Taoiseach must now decide if
the relocation of the Port of Cork is a government priority."
IT WAS billed as David and Goliath — families against the powerful Port of Cork.
But mothers, fathers and grandparents in the sailing town of Monkstown, who led the fight against the port’s €160 million container terminal, celebrated their planning victory yesterday.
The same people who watched in disgust as An Bord Pleanála overturned its own inspector’s decision on the controversial Indaver incinerator a few years ago, said they were surprised by yesterday’s decision from the planning appeals board, but nonetheless delighted.
Some even went so far as to say it restored their confidence in the planning system.
They watched from the shore close to Monkstown Bay Sailing Club yesterday morning as dozens of youngsters sailed dinghys in the bay — a past-time which would have been threatened had the terminal project gone ahead.
Some were sailing in an area of water which would have been reclaimed as part of the port project.
Sailing course organiser Ann O’Brien said the terminal would have spelt for the end for some sailing courses.
“Small kids in small boats and big ships just don’t mix,” she said.
Raised on the water in Monkstown Bay, former sailing club commodore, Nuala O’Reilly-Teegan, said she felt the planning appeals board made the right decision.
“Sailing is part of the town’s heritage,” she said.
“We are not triumphant about it. We have to work with the Port of Cork in the future.
“But the best place for this container terminal is Dognose Bank on the Whitegate side of the harbour.It has access to road and rail links and there is 12 metres of water at low tide on that side which would allow the largest ships to berth there.”
Her father Don Teegan said logic had prevailed.
Local Green party Councillor Dominic Donnelly said the decision highlighted the need for an overall masterplan to guide development in the harbour area.
Party colleague, Senator Dan Boyle, said he was pleased the Bord accepted the argument that creating new port facilities without a direct rail link defied sense in times of high-energy costs and the need to combat global warming.
“This decision, made under the terms of the Strategic Infrastruture Act, is also welcome as it shows that even with fast-track planning legislation that public concerns can be addressed,” he said.
Cork Chamber said it was disappointed with the decision, which will have a knock-on impact on wider economic development in the region.
President Joe Gantly called for investment
in key strategic routes around the city such as the Dunkettle Interchange,
the N25 South Ring Route and the N28 to Ringaskiddy, to ensure the
delivery of much-needed infrastructure.
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment