Clonshaugh residents fear sewage plant will lower house values

At public meeting in Dublin planners hear concerns about smells from €500m plant

Bette Browne from Malahide, and Sabrina Joyce Kemper from Portmarnock, protesting outside previous  An Bord Pleanala hearing on plans for the  Clonshaugh sewage plant. Photograph: Fran Veale

Bette Browne from Malahide, and Sabrina Joyce Kemper from Portmarnock, protesting outside previous An Bord Pleanala hearing on plans for the Clonshaugh sewage plant. Photograph: Fran Veale

 

Residents of the north Dublin suburb of Clonshaugh have told An Bord Pleanála that a planned €500 million sewage plant would drive down the value of their homes and curtail the use of public parks and other amenities in the area.

The project, which has been criticised by residents and local politicians for its size, would ultimately serve the needs of up to 500,000 people across the north of county Dublin. It has already been the subject of 14,000 complaints.

An Bord Pleanála’s oral hearing into Irish Water’s planning application for the sewage plant heard from residents of Clonshaugh at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin on Tuesday. Eamonn Harte, who has lived in Clonshaugh since 1974, told the hearing that residents had wrongly been told in 2017 that there would be no odours and that the plant would be completely hidden from view.

He said that “young children are worried that the smell of the plant will stop them playing in the park”. Mr Harte added that plans for the plant had had a galvanising effect on locals opposed to the project. He promised to fight on “with great support of kindred spirit from fellow objectors, neighbours and independent politicians”.

“To think of constructing a plant of this magnitude is a reckless and foolhardy act,” he said.

In addition to residents, objectors to the plan include Minister for the Environment Richard Bruton, Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath, and TDs Tommy Broughan, Clare Daly and Seán Haughey.

Health

Elaine Donoghue Jones, who lives on Clonshaugh Road, some 300m from the proposed plant, said she was concerned her children’s health conditions would be worsened by the plant. Her son is asthmatic, while her daughter suffers with a condition called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, which can lead to growths on the heart, lungs and brain. The child already has epilepsy brought about by the condition.

“She already faces huge challenges in life, and I believe the proposed plant would cause some serious issues for her,” Ms Donoghue Jones told the hearing. Referencing an Irish Water submission on the impact of the plant on house values, she said she found it “extraordinary that the value of my house will remain unchanged with a sewerage plant within 300m of us”.

“It will have a detrimental effect on the value of our property,” she said. “Why should one small community bear the brunt of sewerage treatment for enormous current and future developments?” She also criticised Irish Water’s submission on the impact of noise, which noted that the area is already subject to noise pollution from the airport and nearby main roads.

“Is it merely the case that they live in a noisy area, and therefore a bit more won’t make a difference?” she questioned about Irish Water’s attitude.

Schoolboys James Blake and Jack Doyle, who were accompanied to the hearing by Mr Doyle’s aunt, told the An Bord Pleanála inspector of their concerns about the project. “You won’t be able to walk on the beach or in the park without holding your nose because of the smell,” Mr Blake said. “We in the area will be exposed to terrible smells and great pollution in our area and homes,” added Mr Doyle.

The meeting also heard a submission from Gannon Homes, owned by developer Gerry Gannon, which owns a site with space for 3,000 homes adjacent to the planned sewage plant. The development company is not objecting to the plan, but seeking certain conditions to any planning permission that might be forthcoming.

A spokeswoman for Irish Water said on Tuesday night after the hearing that ll treatment processes at the facility will take place in enclosed buildings and in covered treatment tanks, while an odour control system will be installed at the project to capture and filter odorous air, ensuring that bad smells will not be an issue beyond the site boundary.