The project managers in charge of the development of a new motorway connecting counties Cork and Limerick have been told that farmers on the route are “extremely concerned” about the potential impact on their farms.

The project managers met with a delegation from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) this week to discuss the proposed 80km M20 development connecting the two cities.

Speaking after the meeting, IFA environment chairperson Paul O’Brien said the delegation “made it very clear” that the 200 or so farmers along the planned route are “extremely concerned about the upheaval facing their farms and farming businesses as a result of the project”.

“These farmers have been living under an unacceptable cloud of uncertainty over the last 20 years, when plans for the road were first announced.”

According to the IFA, the project team said they would examine any individual cases in the potential road corridor and make a decision quickly so developments can be progressed.

The association also highlighted that postponements and delays on dwelling and farmyard developments have had “a very costly impact on some farmers in the area”.

The project managers heard that engagement with farmers is essential.

“Now that the preferred route option has been selected, there needs to be intensive engagement and consultation with individual farmers along the route.”

The IFA team also brought up issues in relation to access to lands and local roads for farmers; issues of wildlife disturbance; and the implications for animal disease control.

The project managers are understood to be writing out to farmers along the route and will be commencing land surveys soon.

“It is very important that access agreement is sought from the farmer beforehand and flexibility is provided to avoid any interference with silage grounds, crops or grazing arrangements,” O’Brien said.

The project managers also told the IFA that there is no decision at this time whether a proposed greenway project will also form part of the motorway project, or if it will be a standalone project.