Water pipeline consultation report expected this summer

Recording, responding to and analysing submissions to the fourth public consultation on the proposed East and Midlands Water Supply Project, which closed on February 14, is underway.

It’s anticipated that a report on the consultation will be published this summer, a spokesperson for Irish Water said.

“As information, issues and requests emerge from consultation submissions and engagement undertaken by our dedicated landowner team, the technical and environmental teams are updating the preliminary designs and undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment,” the spokesperson said.

We are now working towards making a submission for a planning application. This is expected to take place in early 2018.

Engagement with stakeholders will continue to inform the development of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The spokesperson added: “Our dedicated landowner team will continue to work with landowners whose land is directly impacted by the proposed path of the pipeline and associated facilities.

“The planning process also provides additional opportunity for all stakeholders to influence the project.”

Thomas Cooney, who chairs the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, said that farmers had a number of worries about the project.

“They are concerned about the disruption caused by the 50m working area – work on that strip could take up to 18 months,” said the Cavan-based dairy and beef farmer.

There are a number of concerns among dairy farmers about getting stock across this working area.

General inconvenience expected to be caused by the amount of machinery that will be brought in is another concern for farmers, Cooney said.

“There will be an air valve every 500m. The infrastructure that will be left in the field, such as air valves and stop valves, is a worry for farmers.”

Basic Payment Scheme payment is another area of anxiety. Cooney added: “There is no provision to stack entitlements in the current BPS”.

Legal issues have also been raised, according to Cooney, who said farmers were worried about what would happen if their sons or daughters wanted to build in the fields.

“They are generally unhappy about potential devaluation of their farms.

“Many point to the amount of water that is being wasted through leaks in Dublin as an area that should be investigated,” Cooney said.