An Bord Pleanála, the Irish Planning Authority, has granted planning permission for the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project – the largest port related infrastructure project in the history of the Irish State. The project will enable Ireland’s premier port to double its trade capacity to 60 million tonnes per annum by 2040. It will also enable the largest cruise liners in the world to safely berth in the River Liffey Channel at the heart of Dublin City.
The Project involves the creation/rehabilitation of 3km of quay walls, new berthing facilities and a capital dredging scheme which will deepen the navigation channel within Dublin Bay to a ruling depth of -10m CD.
RPS was commissioned by Dublin Port Company to develop and deliver the €230million ABR Project through the feasibility and planning stage of the Project. This involved Engineering Design and preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement and Habitats Directive Assessment. RPS expert witnesses also took a lead role in the successful Oral Hearing (Planning Inquiry).
The project was particularly challenging as there were a number of major environmental, archaeological and engineering issues to overcome including legacy contaminated sediments, historic quay structures designed by the renowned Victorian Engineer Bindon Blood Stoney and the fact that Dublin Port lies adjacent to a number of European designated Natura 2000 sites including the South Dublin Bay and Tolka Estuary Special Protection Area, North Bull Island Special Protection Area and the Rockabill to Dalkey Island candidate Special Area of Conservation.
RPS carried out extensive environmental impact assessments to determine the impact of the proposed ABR project on the qualifying interests of the Natura sites and Annex 1 species which included over-wintering birds, terns, harbour porpoise, migratory salmonids, lamprey and reefs.
The planning application, supported by an Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement, was submitted to An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. The successful granting of planning permission has allowed Dublin Port Company to advance the project to the construction phase. RPS are continuing to support Dublin Port Company in securing other statutory consents required including a Dumping at Sea Permit from the EPA, an Industrial Emissions Licence also from the EPA and a Foreshore Licence from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. RPS is also engaging with Dublin City Council to seek approval for the ABR Project’s Construction Environmental Management Plan.
RPS is delighted to have recently secured a further six year environmental monitoring contract from Dublin Port Company thereby maintaining RPS’s involvement in the ABR Project throughout the construction phase.
The ABR Project is being led by the RPS team based in the Belfast office with support from colleagues in Dublin.