Warning of more severe flooding in Galway if harbour expansion approved
Harbour company scientist says habitat at stake is not of ‘high intensity’ at second day of oral hearing
Galway Harbour: Fears about the impact of the development on fragile stocks of wild Atlantic salmon, European eel and birdlife were also expressed by Inland Fisheries Ireland and Birdwatch Ireland
An Taisce and the Cladonian Mariners’ Community Boat Club both warned of the risks on the second day of the appeals board’s hearing into the first phase of the €126 million port expansion plan.
An Taisce representative Ian Lumley urged An Bord Pleanála to conduct its own independent research into the potential flooding risk.
“This hearing shouldn’t be taking place at all,” he said. “We should be sitting here finding out how Galway will adapt to sea level rise and climate change. He recalled the storm surge impact on the city in December 2013 and early 2014.
The developer’s prediction of a 0.5-metre sea level rise and 20 per cent increase in peak river flow is outdated, given the most recent inter-governmental scientific reports, he said.
Fragile stocksInland Fisheries IrelandIreland
Galway Bay is designated as a candidate special area of conservation for selected habitats and species and a special protection area for birds.
The project involves reclamation of almost 27 hectares of foreshore and seabed, and loss of almost 37 hectares of inter- tidal, sub-tidal and wetland habitat. But the quality of the protected areas is not of “particularly high intensity”, Dr Brendan O’Connor, appearing for the Galway Harbour Company, told presiding inspector Paul Caprani.
Much of the area has already been exposed to natural fluctuation and storm deposition, along with emission of untreated sewage in the past, which resulted in reduction in diversity of marine species, he said.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service will address the hearing today.