Social Democrats local election candidate for Baltinglass, Dave McGinn, has welcomed the decision of Wicklow County Council planners to decline a planning application from Kilsaran Concrete to develop a sand pit in West Wicklow.
The application (Ref. No. 181270) proposed a 15.1 hectare area at Ballyhurtim, near Dunlavin, to be used for sand and gravel extraction.
The Environmental Impact Assessment Report submitted with the application estimated that the site would result in more than 40 new HGV truck movements between the site at Ballyhurtim and the Kilsaran processing plant in Tallaght. The proposed route for this traffic was through Dunlavin town, along the R756 to Hollywood, and onto the N81 going through Blessington.
Concerned were raised by locals on social media – about potential noise, water, dust, and ecological impact – and a number of submissions were made to the council, including by Dave McGinn, the Social Democrats local election candidate for West Wicklow.
Responding to the decision by the council, dated 11th January 2019, McGinn said:
“Commuters from West Wicklow spend their mornings stuck behind HGV lorries on the N81, and this proposal would have sent at least an additional 40 through Blessington towards Tallaght. We know that the road is at full capacity and that it is dangerous for the drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians who share a single lane; road traffic accidents and deaths are multiples of the national average.”
“This is an example of how failure to invest in national infrastructure can stifle economic development in rural areas. Residents can’t be expected to invite more and more traffic from heavy industry onto the N81, meanwhile their commutes are becoming more miserable.”
Results released this week from a commuter survey commissioned by Wicklow County Council found that 74% of Wicklow commuters were unhappy with their commute. Almost all commuters from West Wicklow drive to work, and the N81 connects the region to Dublin.
“It’s a good decision from the council. I’d like to see more jobs created in the region, but West Wicklow does not exist purely to facilitate gravel extraction at the expense of commuters’ quality of life. I’d love to see Kilsaran join residents of West Wicklow in lobbying for the N81 upgrade to be expedited. With the population of Blessington projected to grow to 7,500 by 2020, this situation is unsustainable.”