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BirdWatch Ireland welcomes rejection of proposal to infill part of Dublin Bay

9th June 2010

BirdWatch Ireland welcomes today’s decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse the Dublin Port Company permission to expand the port by infilling 52-acres of wildlife habitat in Dublin Bay.

The board refused the application saying the area is due to be designated as a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive and that if the proposed development went ahead it might adversely impact on the birds of Dublin Bay and breach EU law.

Commenting on the refusal, Siobhán Egan, BirdWatch Ireland’s Policy Officer, said, “An Bord Pleanála’s acknowledgement that this proposed infill would affect the integrity of the site as a Special Protection Area is particularly welcome.  BirdWatch Ireland was involved in highlighting the role that even a small part of the larger bay might play for the different bird species for which the area is a vital refuge.  The key point here is that the applicant needed to show without reasonable doubt that the loss of this area would not affect the bird interests of the site, as well as the ability of the site to support birds well into the future.

Dublin Bay is home to both nationally and internationally important bird species.  The birds rely on different parts of the bay for a range of needs such as feeding and roosting, depending on the state of the weather and the tides.  European law says that developments can only go ahead where it can be shown there will be no impact on species for which sites are designated: unless this is certain the sites cannot be compromised.

Alan Lauder, BirdWatch Ireland’s Head of Conservation, added, “It is real progress to see this kind of decision being made by a planning authority and the need for site integrity being recognised.  Previously Ireland has failed to give enough regard to the enactment and enforcement of EU conservation laws and has already been reprimanded by the European Court of Justice.  This sends a strong message that An Bord Pleanála and the Irish State are now facing up to their obligations under EU directives and see our rich and irreplaceable natural heritage as being core to sustainable development.

Read the Irish Times report on the rejection of the Dublin Port Company's proposal.

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