Dublin Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe has welcomed plans to further upgrade the Royal Canal Greenway but has cautioned that the works must be undertaken in a way that is sensitive to both local communities and wildlife. Phase 4 of the Royal Canal Greenway will comprise a 4.2km section between Phibsborough and Ashtown along the northern bank of the Royal Canal. These works will see the completion of the Royal Canal Greenway within Dublin City Council boundaries, providing a continuous route for walking, wheeling and cycling from Ashtown to the Docklands.
MEP Cuffe said:
“I warmly welcome plans to further upgrade the Royal Canal Greenway, a wonderful amenity for commuters and tourists to Dublin alike. I’m calling on Dublin City Council to ensure that the works are carried out in a way that is sensitive to the local communities and avoids negatively impacting the delicate ecosystems in the area.
For example, otters are found in this section of the canal, and it is imperative that any works do not unduly disturb them or other vulnerable species. Surveys of biodiversity impacts should take place while works are ongoing to ensure that unforeseen impacts are minimised. Likewise, local communities and community groups such as Cabra 4 Youth should continue to be consulted while works are ongoing to ensure that any concerns arising at this stage can be swiftly addressed.”
MEP Cuffe expressed concern that the proposed works appear to be over-engineered in places and called for reducing the use of concrete and fencing to the greatest extent possible, and relying on native species to replace any hedgerows which are destroyed in the development process.
He also emphasised that accessibility must play a prominent role in the greenway’s design.
“As cycling becomes more popular in the coming years and decades, vulnerable pedestrians and inexperienced cyclists must not be crowded out by more confident travelers. Tactile paving features or unobtrusive signage could signal for cyclists to take care of pedestrians along those portions of the canal where space is shared.”
Dublin City Council will now prepare a report on the consultation which will be presented to councillors before their vote on the approval or refusal of planning permission for the project.