Save Ardee Bog | Stop the N52 Ardee Bypass

Save Ardee Bog | Stop the N52 Ardee Bypass

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Katie Holten started this petition to Michael D. Higgins (President of Ireland) and

Ireland declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. We need to stop the N52 Ardee Bypass from being built through the pNHA of Ardee Bog and supporting habitat, a designated Flood Zone and Curlew habitat.   

In 2018 then Minister Shane Ross and Ireland's Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport resurrected an abandoned plan to build the N52 Ardee Bypass through Ardee Bog in County Louth.

There are many reasons why this project needs to be stopped.

Here are some of our concerns:

1. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was never carried out. Planning was granted in 2006 without an EIA. In 2019 Louth County Council (LCC) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) stated publicly that the project was in breach of 2012 Environmental law. An EIA, AA screening was initiated in 2020 which is currently with An Bord Pleanála. An EIA cannot be applied retroactively.

2. Ireland declared a Climate Emergency in May 2019. Why is the Irish Government now building a road through a Bog? Raised bogs like Ardee Bog take 10,000 years to form. This bypass is the opposite of what we should be doing. We cannot let this project go ahead as designed. We need to protect our bogs.

3. Peatlands are Ireland's rainforests. Bogs play a vital role in mitigating the effects of the climate crisis by storing vast amounts of carbon. Irish peatlands hold 75% of the soil’s organic carbon, dramatically more than agriculture or forestry. Our bogs need to be protected at all costs. 

4. Ardee Bog is the last and most easterly Raised Bog in Ireland. It is a proposed Natural Heritage Area, and a site of national ecological significance. It needs to be protected from so-called "development" and left to regenerate. As the Irish Peatland Conservation Council states: Raised Bogs are beautiful landscapes with a unique biodiversity. They provide mankind with services that are worth billions of Euro that may be easily jeopardised by inappropriate or short-sighted exploitation. Raised Bogs are:

  • the finest example of their type in Europe, and probably the world.
  • a unique repository of information of past climates, vegetation and human activity.
  • a valuable genetic resource of potential use to humanity.
  • valuable outdoor laboratories in which plants, animals and natural processes in an extremely inhospitable environment can be studied.
  • of national and international importance as part of the biosphere in which they are inextricably linked to to other ecosystems.
  • a unique feature of the Irish landscape of considerable tourist value.
  • a priority habitat under the EU Habitats Directive because of their scarcity in Europe.
  • an important store of carbon, helping to control greenhouse gases.
  • an important store of water within river catchments

5. Curlews are feeding and possibly nesting in Ardee Bog. This is incredible! Curlews are one of the most iconic birds of the Irish countryside but the Curlew Task Force has just reported that there has been a 96% decline in numbers since the 1980s and it is in danger of extinction in Ireland. The 2021 Curlew Conservation Report confirmed only thirty-four (34) breeding pairs in Ireland. In June 2019 the County Louth Ranger identified seven key sites where the Curlews feed and possibly nest. Two of these sites are directly in the proposed road's route. This project would jeopardize the Curlews, as well as the other animals who call Ardee Bog home, including Otters, Owls, Cuckoos, Frogs, Hare, Bats, and Snipe.

6. Putting a road through a Flood Zone is illegal, non-sensical and dangerous. In the last ten years Ardee Bog's surrounding bufferzone habitat has experienced dramatic flooding. The proposed road cuts through this Flood Zone. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (T.I.I. is in charge of carrying out the project) was not aware of this until the local Community Action Group pointed it out at a meeting in 2018. Since then, they've revised the plans and the project budget has doubled to 34 million Euro (This brings up the question of tax-payers money, which we won't go into in this petition, but 8.1 million has currently been spent). This road will exacerbate the existing flooding problem and create untold damage to local communities, farmers, businesses, Ardee Golf Club, as well as any road infrastructure itself.

7. The plan for the road is 20 years old and was apparently inadequately drawn up at the time. In its original form it would cut off entire communities by turning them into cul-de-sacs, completely isolating them from the town.

8. Not fit for purpose.Traffic congestion in the town of Ardee is largely caused by traffic on the N2 South (7,000 vehicle's per day), which joins traffic for two primary schools, the Community School, 7 housing estates, doctor's surgeries, and Moorehall Lodge nursing home. All this traffic from gets bottlenecked at the Church junction and the little bridge over the river Dee. None of this is traffic from the N52 (3,000 vehicles per day which includes traffic from the one-way system at Supervalu.)

If this road project aims to solve the traffic problem in Ardee, then it will fail.

Ardee needs a bypass to relieve traffic from the N2 rather than the N52. 

The N52 Ardee Bypass is not bypassing the right part of town, so if it is built, Ardee will still have a traffic problem.

We are calling on you to recognise the urgency of the Climate Emergency and the importance of places like Ardee Bog. 

Please stop the N52 Ardee Bypass.

Sincerely,

Katie Holten, on behalf of Friends of Ardee Bog

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