City centre flood relief scheme back in the High Court

City centre flood relief scheme back in the High Court
OPW release latest Cork flood defence images : North Mall – After LL FRS: Showing repaired original railings and upgraded paving, undertaken as part of LLFRS

The brakes have been put on the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence scheme, as Save Cork City have applied to the High Court for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve the works.

Last week City Hall said that a detailed design was being finalised and a contractor was expected to be on-site in early 2021.

However, the judicial review application has been adjourned to November 3 2020. On that date a decision will be made on whether Save Cork City can proceed with the challenge.

The group, who have been campaigning for a tidal barrier, say the current proposed scheme “cannot deliver its promised flood protection and, that were it to perform to its designed flood level set out in 2016 in the Lower Lee Cork City Drainage Scheme, the rest of the city centre would be underwater.” 

In a statement from Save Cork City they said the grounds for the review include: 

  • That the proposed works represent a project splitting of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme and question a breach of environmental regulations.
  • That An Bord Pleanála has also acted beyond its powers under the Planning and Development Act 2000.
  • A conflict of interest by the State City Council and a list of errors by the Board including a decision that breaches citizens’ rights to fair procedures under the law.
  • An error within the scheme concerning rare protected species under the Habitats Directive. 
An overview of the full extent Morrison's Island flood defences project. Pic: Cork City Council.
An overview of the full extent Morrison's Island flood defences project. Pic: Cork City Council.

The group believes the current scheme would cause extensive damage to the city that would prove difficult to recover from.

“The viability of our city going forward should not be jeopardised by a lack of willingness to rethink the best way forward. We now live in the unprecedented times of the post pandemic world and we have an opportunity to rethink the future of Cork together and with open and generous public discussion.

“Cork should not be damaged for generations because some in our civil service won’t back down from an entrenched yet untenable position.” Save Cork City representatives said.

This is not the first time the Morrison’s Island scheme has ended up in the High Court.

In 2018 the High Court quashed permission for the controversial scheme following a challenge by Save Cork City.

OPW release latest Cork flood defence images : Lee Fields – After LL FRS: A wetland environment will be created in this area in the floodplain north of the tiered flood defence. These features will create and encourage biodiversity.
OPW release latest Cork flood defence images : Lee Fields – After LL FRS: A wetland environment will be created in this area in the floodplain north of the tiered flood defence. These features will create and encourage biodiversity.

Save Cork City said that the flood walls proposal is both “technically and economically flawed”, while they also believe it would damage the potential of Cork for generations.

“It is time to work out a new, less aggressive and more collaborative way of delivering public service.

"We have the opportunity now to do something better for the city and we should work together to achieve a much better result for everyone that costs less and achieves more," Save Cork City representatives commented.

Cork City Council has been contacted for comment.

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