The Alliance of thirteen residents associations representing
over 8,000 of your residents want and require an independent environmental
impact assessment. On the assumption that the council is there to serve the
needs of its residents, this, of itself, should be enough justification.
In addition, we are advised that EU law does require such an evaluation. We
attach extracts of the judgement of the European Court (Fifth Chamber) dated
21st September 1999.
We hope the Council will accede to what is an eminently reasonable request
from the vast majority of residents in the area. However, we reserve the
right to seek a judicial review if this is not the case.
The Society of the Irish Motor
Industry estimates that new vehicle ownership has been growing at almost
11 % in the Greater Dublin Area over the last 3 years. In addition, the
current proposal will raise car ownership within the Stepaside Area alone
from 3,585 in 1998 to 8,886 in 2003. This is an increase of 148% in five
years. The combined effect is a potential increase of 40% per annum in
traffic on the roads in the area. This does not take into account the major
developments in the surrounding areas.
It is now generally accepted that the design capacity of the South Eastern
Motorway will be exceeded well before it is opened. It is, also, obvious from
the data supplied by the Council that it will do little to ameliorate the
traffic problems that are arising.
Any reasonable/rational person can see that without major planning
provisions made now their will be traffic chaos within 3 years We believe
that it is eminently reasonable that over 8,000 residents demand that you
plan to avoid this now. It is imperative that a full traffic study be carried
out now and be completed before any development takes place. In a PPP project
valued at more than £1 billion, resources cannot be a problem.
From the information we have, neither the South Eastern Motorway nor the
LUAS Line B will be operational by 2003. If the Council knows
differently we would like them to give us the necessary assurances in
We thank you for your action in relation to the new national schools.
However, you seem doubtful that a fourth school is required. We will be happy
to share with you the data on which we based our calculations which show that
four additional sixteen teacher schools are a minimum requirement.
Can we clarify that you are providing space for five schools including the
Gaelscoil which is full already. Can you please indicate to us in writing
where the sites are being preserved.
In relation to Secondary Schools: There will be 2,846 children between the
ages of 12 and 18 years residing in the area without any schools when this
development is complete. I am sure you will agree that this is not
There is nothing in the Action Plan to assure us of the number, location
or infrastructural support for either indoor or outdoor sport or leisure
facilities in the area. Your proposal to wait until after the Action Plan is
approved ". . . to take up the matter of their provision with the developers.
. . " is hardly credible and is totally unacceptable to the Alliance. The
provision of these facilities in precise detail must be included in the
A 'green belt' within the Action Plan has been identified as vital to the
migratory activity of many species of birds as it provides the last route to
the Wicklow Hills from South Dublin. The Green Spine within the Plan cannot
achieve this purpose. To try and achieve this objective we propose leaving
intact and undisturbed the vast majority of existing hedgerows and trees.
This must be stipulated as a revision to the Plan along with very substantial
penalties that would be levied should any damage occur. We would be pleased
to provide professional advice to assist in the design of this habitat.
At a number of meetings with the Council you agreed that not more than
400-500 houses per annum would be built. Now you say that you cannot 'cap'
construction. Given the serious nature and scale of the infrastructural
deficits outlined above, the chaos that is likely to ensue and the time
required to put them in place, we have to insist on some agreement here. We
feel strongly enough about this to consider a judicial review on this issue
We thank you for your agreement on the appointment of a Project Manager
as requested. We would respectfully request you to send us a copy of his/her
terms of reference at your convenience.
In Conclusion: We would like to point out that every one of the
points raised above would be covered in an Environmental Impact Study.
Your attention is drawn to the findings of the European Court (Fifth
Chamber) in its judgement against Ireland dated 21st September 1999.
Paragraphs 20 to 22 state:
According to the Commission, projects which do not exceed the
thresholds set may none the less have significant environmental effects. Two
factors are important in that regard.
The first factor is that certain sites which are particularly sensitive
or valuable may be damaged by projects which do not exceed the thresholds
set. This is the case with areas identified as valuable and important for
nature conservation and areas of particular archaeological or
The second factor is that the legislation fails to take account of the
cumulative effect of projects. A number of separate projects, which
individually do not exceed the threshold set and therefore do not require an
impact assessment may, taken together, have significant environmental
The Findings of the Court include:
So, a Member State which established criteria and/or
thresholds at a level such that, in practice, all projects of a certain type
would be exempted in advance from the requirement of an impact assessment
would exceed the limits of its discretion under Articles 2(1) and 4(2) of the
Directive unless all the projects excluded could, when viewed as a whole, be
regarded as not being likely to have significant effects on the
That would be the case where a Member state merely set a criterion of
project size and did not also ensure that the objective of the legislation
would not be circumvented by the splitting of projects. Not taking account of
the cumulative effect of projects means in practice that all projects of a
certain type may escape the obligation to carry out an assessment when, taken
together, they are likely to have significant effects on the environment
within the meaning of Article 2(1) of the Directive.