he ruling by An Bord Pleanala that an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) isn’t required for the proposed sustainable transport bridge over the River Dargle is being challenged by campaigners.
The Save Bray campaigners are now planning to fundraise for a judicial review of the ABP decision.
An application for leave to bring a judicial review has been lodged by legal representatives for the group, with a decision expected by the High Court in the coming months. The initial fundraising goal for the judicial review has been set at €10,000.
Wicklow County Council have faced strong opposition to their proposal to build a sustainable transport bridge, with various community groups (including a TikTok campaign) joined by celebrity vet Pete Wedderburn, highlighting the danger it places on the many swans who inhabit the Bray harbour, and Jennifer Whitmore TD calling for the rejected environmental impact assessmentlast September. There is also an online petitionset up bySave Bray Swans.
The controversial bridge
Most recently, O’Connell & Clarke Solicitors have lodged a request with An Bord Pleanala asking if a Natura Impact Statementmust be carried out by Wicklow County Council.
With APB determining that the bridge would have ‘limited potential for significant effects on the environment’, the public consultation for the project last year received many submissions expressing deep concerns about the danger such a structure would pose for the 120 swans beneath it.
Greystones harbour 2007. Pic: Eamon Flynn
The plans for the bridge and link road would be a two-lane public transport road plus pedestrian and cycle path, able to facilitate buses and, in the future, the LUAS.
Those opposed to the project argue that the ‘unnecessarily tall’ bridge will be directly in the flight path of Bray’s swans, and that the ‘vain’ design of vertical cables has prioritised aesthetic considerations over animal welfare. Wildlife rescue volunteers have pointed out that the similar Samuel Beckett bridge in Dublin has caused many swans to crash and fall onto the road.
Campaigners have also expressed concerns about severely compromising the feeding grounds for otters, whilst others argue that the new bridge would cut across the natural floodplain of the Dargle river, which offers protection from flooding for the low-lying areas of Little Bray.
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