NTA urged to consider cutting Dublin city car access rather than removing trees

Irish Georgian Society concerned at likely removal of 160 trees from UCD-city route


The National Transport Authority (NTA) should consider reducing access to Dublin city centre by private cars, the Irish Georgian Society (IGS) has suggested.

The IGS said this should be done by the NTA “before considering undermining the integrity of the historic environment through the removal of historic fabric and street trees”.

A submission by the executive of the IGS, Donough Cahill, was made to the NTA in relation to the BusConnects core bus corridor project before public consultation closed last month.

BusConnects aims to overhaul the current bus system in the Dublin region by creating 230km of dedicated bus lanes and 200km of cycle tracks along 16 of the busiest corridors along with a redesign of the network.

“The society notes that the NTA calls for participants in the consultation to suggest alternative solutions or options for consideration,” its submission said.

“Given this, the society respectfully requests that the NTA give consideration to reducing measures designed to facilitate access to the city centre by unsustainable modes of transport (ie private cars) before considering undermining the integrity of the historic environment through the removal of historic fabric and street trees.

“For example, it is unclear why the removal of original fabric from within the curtilage of protected structures or the removal of existing street trees would even be countenanced at locations where there is sufficient space to provide on-street car parking bays.”

The society said while it welcomes the potential of the project to “significantly improve the quality of the urban environment” it has reservations about the impact of the removal of “historic boundaries, railings, gates, pavement and street furniture on sensitive historic streets”.

Revised design

The society also said it is of considerable concern that “so many trees” (approximately 160) are likely to be removed on the UCD to city centre corridor, “particularly given that so much of this route runs alongside sensitive historic streets”.

“Loss of trees has the potential to result in significant adverse impacts on historic streets. There is insufficient detail provided in the public consultation document on which trees may be removed, the age and condition of those trees and on the extent of any replanting programme to allow the public to participate in a meaningful way in environmental decision-making on the project,” its submission said.

Over 1,400 properties stand to lose part of their front gardens to accommodate the proposed plans, while more than 1,600 trees and 700 parking spaces would be lost.

Affected property owners are expected to receive an average compensation payment of about €25,000 while the NTA said where trees are removed “a comprehensive replanting programme” would be put in place.

The NTA has said previously it would not be commenting on individual submissions and that all submissions will be “read and reviewed” in the coming months.

A revised redesign of the network is due to be published in September and a further round of public consultation will begin.

The Irish Georgian Society promotes the protection of Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts.