3rd November, 2008

Senator Paschal Donohoe, Councillor Mary O’Shea and Ray McAdam have made a joint submission to An Bord Pleanala on the Metro North planning application. In their submission they stressed the need for an independent monitoring system during and after construction, the need for environmental limits to be strictly observed and an effective local complaint system.

Please see below for their full submission.

The planned Metro North is the single largest infrastructural project in the history of the Irish State. There is little doubt that the Metro will create massive benefits for the city of Dublin and residents living alone the route. However, the construction phase will see a lot of disruption resulting in an immense impact upon the lives of thousands of people. Therefore, we believe it is necessary for An Bord Pleanala to hold an oral hearing into this application, so that the concerns of people affected by the construction and operation of the Metro will be taken into consideration.

Local people are concerned with a number of key aspects of the Environmental Impact Statement which accompanied the Railway Order. We acknowledge that until the contractors provide a final design for the construction of Metro North, many of our concerns and questions will not be fully answered. However, we believe it necessary for any final design to take full account of all conditions included in the Railway Order as seen fit by An Bord Pleanala.

Therefore we urge the Board to take consideration of the following issues:

The need for certain environmental limits to be included in the conditions of the Railway Order at particular locations and particular times of day.
We would ask the Board to consider include limiting the hours of working to be included in the detailed design of the Metro.
Requests for conditions to be imposed requiring monitoring schemes for major measurable impacts to be agreed and implemented before construction proceeds. These conditions should include:

  • measuring the level of noise during the construction phase
  • measuring the level of noise during the operation of Metro North
  • dust and other airborne emissions during the construction and operation of the Metro
  • the impact of construction traffic and pedestrian safety during the construction phase
  • potential for the construction works to cause or exacerbate flooding
  • potential for the tunnelling works to cause settlement
  • potential effects of tunnel construction and the operation of the Metro on human health
  • the impact of Metro North on property prices and local planning zones
  • control of contractor performance and what will happen if things go wrong

We would urge the Board to include in the conditions of the Railway Order a method for obtaining a technical response to enquiries and concerns from those affected by the works.
It is necessary for an effective complaints procedure and dispute resolution process relating to all significant impacts to be included in the conditions of the Railway Order. We believe it to be essential for this procedure to be agreed and implemented prior to the beginning of the construction phase of the project.
Requests for conditions to be imposed requiring the Rail Procurement Agency to operate a property protection scheme to ensure that property owners who experience damage to their properties have their problems rapidly addressed.
We also believe given the burden of legal costs that will be inflicted upon residents affected by the construction and operation of Metro North, these costs should be born by the Rail Procurement Agency.
We and residents affected by the construction and operation of Metro North had insufficient time to assimilate and identify key issues contained in the Railway Order given the volume of documentation included. Therefore, our submission maybe incomplete and we would ask that the Board allow us to bring forward further concerns or questions to your attention as this process continues.
It is also crucial that an independent monitoring system be in place to ensure that planning conditions are implemented on Metro North when it is operational.

We hope that An Bord Pleanala will actively consider these and other submissions so that this important project can go ahead with the right conditions attached. We feel these proposed measures will strengthen the Railway Order and that the concerns and questions raised by local people will be adequately addressed.