The Wexford Green Party is calling on Wexford County Council to abandon the proposed route for the completion of the Gorey to Courtown Link Path and to consider alternative routes in keeping with the Climate and Biodiversity emergencies declared by the council in July 2019.
Stressing it is fully supportive of WCC seeking funding for active travel, the Green Party said all proposed schemes of this nature must consider climate and biodiversity emergencies and be preceded by public consultation and an environmental impact assessment.
“According to the successful application for funding through the Fáilte Ireland Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) 2021, which has been seen by members of the Wexford Green Party, only one route is being considered,” read a statement issued by the party. “This route includes the use of land at Courtown House Gate Lodge and the construction of a new bridge crossing the Ounavarra river adjacent to the existing Ballinatray Bridge from, on one side, land owned by Coillte and Courtown Woods on the other side. After the new bridge, the proposal shows the route winding its way through Courtown Woods and ending at Courtown car park.
“Works at all or any of the above sites would require the removal of trees, disturbance and irreparable damage to woodlands and irreversible damage to the ecosystem around the Courtown Woods area. In a location that Wexford County Council has declared an ‘important biodiversity area’ in their most recent Biodiversity Action Plan, such works do not conform to the actions needed to deal with the biodiversity crisis the council themselves have declared.”
Arguing that in bypassing significant residential areas, the proposed route would increase the journey time for pedestrians and lead to local residents continuing to use the existing route, the Green Party argued that the new footpath was in danger of becoming a white elephant.
“The Wexford Green Party calls on Wexford County Council to abandon the current proposed route and to offer a number of new routes for public consultation with community stakeholders accompanied by independent environmental impact assessments for each,” the Green Party statement concluded.