Arklow Flood Relief Scheme
Wicklow County Council (WCC), funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW), proposes to undertake engineering works along the Avoca River and surrounds to mitigate the risk of flooding in the Arklow town area in County Wicklow. The proposed works are collectively referred to as the Arklow Flood Relief Scheme.
The proposed development (proposed scheme) will be carried out partly on the foreshore by a local authority, Wicklow County Council. Wicklow County Council has made an application for approval to An Bord Pleanála pursuant to Section 226 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended). Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) documentation has also been prepared.
Arklow town has, for many years, experienced recurring flooding problems that have caused widespread damage to public and private property (August 1986, December 1989, November 2000, February 2002, October 2004, October 2005, January 2010, January 2013 and December 2015). The flood risk in Arklow may also increase in the future, due to a range of factors, including climate change, sediment transport, erosion, development within the catchment of Avoca River and its tributaries, and changes in land use and drainage. Arklow is at risk from potentially worsening flood events having regard to current climate change predictions. Without intervention to address fluvial and tidal flooding, Arklow faces the continued onset of a range of issues associated with flooding. Thus, there are a number of justifications surrounding the need for the proposed scheme.
Description of the Proposed Scheme
The proposed scheme is being undertaken for the purpose of preventing the periodical localised flooding of lands and properties in the Arklow town area. The proposed scheme will involve the construction of flood defences and an embankment, as well as conveyance improvements in the Avoca River; including deepening of the river channel, the introduction of new debris and gravel traps and strengthening works to the existing quay walls and Arklow Bridge.
The flood scheme has been designed to withstand a 1 in 100-year flood event from the Avoca River (fluvial) as well as 1 in 200-year tidal flood event.
Overall, the proposed development will comprise of the following elements:
• Works at Arklow Bridge, a protected structure (RPS A26), including the underpinning of the piers and southern abutment, removal of existing concrete scour slab and lowering the floor of Arklow Bridge by approximately 1m, construction of new concrete scour slab and remedial works to bridge masonry;
• River dredging works to improve channel capacity, comprising dredging of the river channel from approximately 320m upstream of Arklow Bridge to approximately 520m downstream of Arklow Bridge, including removal of in-river sandbanks and vegetated islands north of Arklow Bridge and trimming of vegetation along the north bank between the debris trap and Arklow Bridge that lies within the river channel and below the design flood level. Occasional future maintenance as required of the river channel by dredging, estimated to be at 10-year intervals;
• Extension into the river channel by circa 12m along an approximate 75m length of the northern river bank upstream of Arklow Bridge;
• Installation of 3 no roosting platforms for birds upstream of Arklow Bridge;
• Construction of debris and gravel traps and a permanent river access ramp on the south bank for their maintenance; Annual maintenance of the debris trap and gravel trap using a temporary in-river haul road.
• Flood defences on the south bank of the Avoca River
• Flood Defences on the north bank of the Avoca River
• Removal of existing public realm at River Walk and South Quay, including demolition of the river access at the junction of River Lane and River Walk, and a disused slipway (referred to as Coal Quay) on South Quay, existing footpaths, street and decorative lighting, parking spaces and seating.
• Provision of new public realm at River Walk and South Quay, including parking spaces, footpaths, amenity/viewing area, public lighting, planters and floating pontoon. Provision of additional urban space approximately 6m into the river on South Quay immediately south of the Arklow Bridge for a length of approximately 260m and provision of additional urban space extending between approximately 0m and 6m into the river on River Walk for a length of approximately 100m.
• The proposed works include road reconstruction, road regrading, traffic calming measures, provision of a section of interconnector sewer for the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP) for Irish Water, diversion of utilities, including electricity cables in Arklow Marsh, tree felling, tree trimming, tree planting, landscaping, local riverbed raising, installation of roosting platforms upstream of Arklow Bridge and all associated and ancillary works.
• Temporary works including establishing six site compounds: northeast edge of
Arklow Town Marsh, on lands between the running track and Mill Road, on land between the river and the roundabout located at the junction of Arklow Bridge, Ferrybank and North Quay, on part of St Marys (Main Street) car park, on lands between the eastern end of North Quay and North Pier, and on lands between Arklow Golf Club and South Beach. River access will take place at North Quay, South Quay, River Walk and north-west of Arklow Bridge. These site compounds will operate over the duration of the works and will facilitate the construction of the scheme and archaeological examination and stockpiling of excavated and dredged material.
A copy of application for approval, the EIAR and the NIS may be inspected free of charge, or may be purchased on payment of a specified fee (which fee shall not exceed the reasonable cost of making such a copy) during public opening hours for a period of no less than 6 weeks from 4th June 2021 to 23rd July 2021 (inclusive of both dates), at the following locations:
· The Offices of An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902
· Arklow Library, Main Street, Arklow, Co Wicklow, Y14 PY61
· Wicklow County Council, County Buildings, Whitegates, Wicklow Town, A67 FW96
The application plans and particulars, the EIAR and the NIS may also be viewed or downloaded from the following website: https://www.wicklow.ie/Living/Your-Council/Municipal-Districts/Arklow/FRS.
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government EIA portal: http://housinggovie.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=d7d5a3d48f104ecbb206e7e5f84b71f1 provides a link to the application.
Submissions or observations may be made in writing only to An Bord Pleanála (‘the Board’) 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902 in respect of:
(i) The implications of the proposed development for proper planning and sustainable development,
(ii) The likely effects on the environment of the proposed development, and
(iii) The likely significant effects of the proposed development on a European site, if carried out.
Any submissions / observations must be accompanied by a fee of €50 (except for certain prescribed bodies) and must be received in writing by the Board not later than 5.30 p.m. on 23rd July 2021. Such submissions or observations must include the following information:
1. The name of the person, authority or body making the submission or observation, the name of the person, if any, acting on behalf of that person, authority or body, and the address to which any correspondence relating to the application should be sent,
2. The subject matter of the submission or observation, and
3. The reasons, considerations and arguments on which the submission or observation is based in full.
An Bord Pleanála may approve, approve subject to conditions, or refuse the proposed development.
Any person may question the validity of any such decision of the Board made in respect of the application for permission by way of an application for judicial review, under Order 84 of the Rule of the Superior Courts (S.I. No. 15 of 1986, as amended by S.I. No. 691 of 2011), in accordance with Section 175(4)(a) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as amended. Practical information on the review mechanism can be accessed under the heading Publications – Judicial Review Notice on the Board’s website www.pleanala.ie or on the Citizens Information Service website www.citizensinformation.ie.
Any enquiries relating to the application process should be directed to An Bord Pleanála (Telephone: 01 8588100).