Sunday 24 March 2019

Irish Rail in talks over greenway

Myles Buchanan

Plans for a greenway from Wicklow town to Greystones continue to progress as the second meeting of the East Coast Greenway Taskforce took place last week.

The meeting was chaired by Wicklow County Council CEO Frank Curran and was attended by representatives from Irish Rail, OPW, Failte Ireland, WCC, National Parks and Wildlife and the East Coast Greenway group.

The Wicklow Town Team are leading the initiative, after forming the Wicklow Greenway sub group chaired by Ciaran Lally.

Engineering consultants WS Atkins were deployed by Wicklow County Council in April of last year to establish a feasibility study for greenway plans. Consultants from WS Atkins updated the meeting on their findings, including ongoing communications with Irish Rail.

'The consultants are in regular contact with Irish Rail to plan the safest movement of people near the railway line,' explained Mr Lally.

'Secondly, due to the large areas of land along the coast designated as Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas, the design of any greenway must take full cognisance of the flora, fauna and wildlife along any proposed route, as they have special protection under European Law.'

That has resulted on a short delay over the feasibility study, which is now expected to be completed by April. While the East Coast Greenway Group were initially disappointed to hear of the short delay, they have been highly impressed by the approach taken by WS Atkins.

'We are in full agreement that any proposed route must be sympathetic to the beautiful nature in this area and not have any negative environmental impact whatsoever,' confirmed Mr Lally. 'Working in harmony with nature will only enhance the physical and mental health benefits of the greenway for the people of Wicklow, in addition to the significant economic benefits the greenway would have for all towns along the route. We look forward to seeing the final feasibility report in April'.

Wicklow People