So finally we get a piece of the EIS, merely the 'Draft scoping report for consultation' in fact.
Out of a total 47 pages, there's very little mention of Stephen's Green & the impact installing a construction 'compound' within the parks confines will have, permanent or otherwise. Indeed reference to it is so vague, you'd have to conclude that tree felling within the green will not be necessary - i'm not convinced.
Unless the RPA can keep its compound strictly within the confines of the Green's main lake, itself surrounded by some of the parks most mature specimens, felling looks to be inevitable.
For those interested all references to Stephen's Green within the report are summarised below.
Mention within the report itself is limited to 3 paragraphs. The bulk of comment, or shall we say concern for the green comes at the end in a summarised table of comments received from the main stake holders - OPW, DCC & DoEHLG.
Metro North EIS:
Draft Scoping Report for consultation wrote:
... From O’]Comments received as part of consultation[/B]
- St. Stephen’s Green should be considered as a feature of architectural heritage. The architectural impact must therefore be considered as well as the archaeological impact. – DoEHLG
- The assessors should consider whether or not St. Stephen’s Green is a National Monument under the National Monuments Acts 1930 – 2004. At least one member of DoEHLG believes that it is and if it is, Ministerial Consent will be required prior to development.. – DoEHLG
- Structures within St. Stephen’s Green must be protected e.g. statues, rails etc. – OPW
- Erosion of greenbelts with the location of stops must be considered, especially in relation to the impact on the footprint of St. Stephen’s Green (the entire Green and not just the 500m radius).
- All construction plant and equipment should be kept within the confines of St. Stephens Green so as to minimise the visual impact on the surrounding environment.
- The impact of dust from the development should be considered in relation to the entire area of St. Stephen’s Green and not just a 500m radius.
- If any permanent structures are to be erected in the Green, the impact must be considered.
- The impact that pedestrian footfall and the development may have on the water table for the trees.
- Clarification is needed in relation to the proposed size of the compound at St. Stephen’s Green and other design arrangements.
So essentially, we're none the wiser. All we know is that the Green's terminus is to be located at the north west corner & that it will of course require a large bored tuning circle, i.e what we already knew; nothing on the size of this compound.
I’m convinced the RPA are side stepping this one. Lets face it, a TBM is hardly the most graceful of man made objects. If felling turns out to be necessary within the Green, & its difficult to see how it can be avoided – there are many out there, far more militant than me, that will be up in arms about this one.
There is an alternative of course.
Spare St. Stephen’s Green the heavy toll of the 5 year construction period & utilise the lawn of the adjacent Iveagh Gardens.
Don’t get me wrong, the Iveagh Gardens are a gem & i’ve been jumped on before for suggesting it as an alternative, but the simple fact remains that the lawn can be reinstated exactly as is, whereas the perfectly maturing set piece that is the green is in danger of being altered permanently.
Put simply, the Iveagh lawn equates to less than a third of the overall park, is large enough to contain the RPA’s compound in its entirety, can be easily sealed off for the duration, but most importantly, can be successfully reinstated.
There is an alternative.