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Kildare County Council

 

Minutes of Special Meeting held at 2.00 p.m. on Monday 7 July 2008 at Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare

 

Members Present:  Councillor S Griffin (Mayor); Councillors B Hillis, K Ridge,

J McGinley, R Hendy, D Fitzpatrick, M Dalton, T McEvoy, B Weld,

K Byrne, L Doyle, P McNamera, S Doyle, F Dukes, JJ Power,

P Black, M Nolan, W Callaghan, M Glennon, F O’Loughlin

 

Apologies:               Councillor Gerry McDonagh

 

Also Present:          M Malone, County Manager, Messrs J Lahart, E O’Sullivan, D Page,

J Boland, P Minnock (Directors of Services) C. Talbot (Meetings

Administrator) and other officials.

 

__________________________

 

1/0708

Strategic Infrastructure Planning Application for Proposed Extension and Intensification of the Drehid Waste Management Facility

 

The Mayor opened the meeting by clarifying that this item was a continuation of discussion held at meeting on 30/6/08 and that precise proposals for recommendation to An Bord Pleanala would be recorded.  The County Manager advised the members that Kildare County Council had been notified of this application as a listed body for consultation and that the Manager’s Report and members resolutions would be considered by An Bord Pleanala prior to decision being made.

Mr Lahart, Director of Services, presented the report of the Manager, dated 26 June 2008, to the members.  He outlined the description of the proposed development and confirmed an EIS had been included.  He described the relevant planning history and confirmed that planning permission had been granted on this site for a landfill under planning ref 04/371.  He advised that the site was located in the North West of the county on cut away boglands within the ownership of Bord na Mona.  He outlined the policy context of the proposed development with reference to The National Development Plan 2007 – 2013, The National Spatial Strategy, The Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), The County Development Plan 2005 – 2011 and the Waste Management Plan for County Kildare 2005 – 2010.  Mr Lahart outlined a number of issues, which required further consideration namely, assessment of need, carrying capacity of road/traffic infrastructure, impact on the remnant raised bog habitat, assessment of impact on Ballynafagh Bog and Ballynafagh Lake and impact on archaeological heritage of the area.  He further outlined appropriate conditions that should be included in the event that the Board decide to grant permission.

Councillor Weld thanked the County Manager for his comprehensive report but wished to highlight a number of issues on behalf of local residents of North West Kildare which included (a) lack of strategic approach, (b) lack of consideration of the Waste Management Policy for the county, (c) the significant impact on the local community, (c) lack of road infrastructure, (d) lack of consideration for surface water issues.

He felt the proposed development was inconsistent with EU and national policies on waste management.  Councillor Weld conveyed his disappointment that no effort had been made by Bord na Mona to consult with the local community and people only became aware of the proposal when the site notice had been erected.   He indicated that extensive consultation had taken place when the parent permission ref 04/371 was being considered and that together with Councillor McEvoy, he was a member of the Liaison Committee who had prepared draft guidelines on the community gain aspect of the existing permission and felt that they should have been informed of the proposed development as a matter of courtesy.  Councillor Weld outlined that this site was located in a disadvantaged area and the existing road network did not have the capacity for the proposed expansion.  He felt that should permission be granted, an extra levy of €1.50 per tonne, index linked should be imposed to provide a contingency plan to improve the road network in county Kildare over the next 10 to 15 years.  He asked his fellow members to support this extra levy and that the existing levy of €1.27 should also be index linked as the current value of same would be insignificant in years to come.  Councillor Weld queried if records required to be lodged every three months, as a requirement of the planning permission, had been received by Kildare County Council as the facility was now up and running for the past four months.

 

Mr Talbot, Meetings Administrator, clarified that Councillor Weld had put forward 3 separate resolutions:

That the proposed extension to the landfill at Drehid be rejected by the members of Kildare County Council

To recommend an additional levy of €1.50 per tonne for road improvements and that it be index linked.

That the €1.27 per tonne currently payable under condition no. 17 of PL09.212059 be extended to the proposed additional 240,000 tonnage and that it be index linked.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Weld, seconded by Councillor McEvoy, and agreed by all the members present, that the above resolutions be approved.

Councillor Fitzpatrick welcomed the Manager’s report however he indicated that he was not supporting the proposal which constituted a nuisance, had no community gain element, that the current facility had been accepted but that this application constituted financial greed.  He expressed his disappointment that Bord na Mona had held development meetings in 2003 and 2004 when planning ref 04/371 was proposed and in fact a member of the local community had ran for council as a result but yet no consultation had taken place to increase the proposed facility.  He indicated that the proposal was to treble the capacity of the landfill and that he had concerns over the significant effects it would have on the bogland in the area and the potential for pollution of the water etc.  Councillor Fitzpatrick outlined his support for Councillor Weld’s resolution to reject the proposal but in the event of a decision to grant permission that the current levy be increased and index linked.

Councillor McGinley indicated that the council should recommend to An Bord Pleanala that this application be rejected.  He felt that Bord na Mona would have known for a long time that they intended to increase the capacity of the site.  He felt it was difficult to see how any Minister could condone such intensification of activity by a private company.  He indicated that the proposal was in conflict with the Waste Management Plan and that paragraph 6 of the County Manager’s report should be removed as it was up to An Bord Pleanala to form the view on whether the proposal was in compliance with the plan.  He felt an extra 240,000 tonnes, on 45 acres of land, with 87 HGV movements, increasing usage by 40% was huge for any community to accept.

 

Councillor L Doyle thanked the County Manager for his report.  He queried who decided that the proposal was a strategic infrastructure application, would the proposal require a material contravention and had the EIS been supplied to the council.  He felt that any future similar applications should be brought to the attention of the area committee members at the earliest possible date.  He fully supported Councillor Weld and McEvoy’s disappointment at not being informed of the proposal by Bord na Mona and felt it would be difficult to have confidence in the way they do business.  He felt that An Bord Pleanala should take into account the existing landfill at Kill and that an application for an incinerator located in Dublin had been granted recently.  He felt that the calculations on the truck movements should be further examined.  He was concerned at the consequences the development would have on Ballynafagh Bog and also queried the amount of proposed water lagoons and how often they would be tested.  He felt other counties should look after their own waste and having a precedent set was not always right.  He urged all members to make their feelings know to An Bord Pleanala.

Councillor Hendy agreed with the comments made by the previous members.  He felt overwhelmed by the scale of the proposed development and that no recognition was given for the quality of life of the people who live and drive in this area.  He was concerned that the roads network was not designed to cater for the proposed increase in traffic.  He was further concerned about the CO2 emissions, the impact on groundwater, the number of landfills already in the county taking waste from other counties, the fact that we supply water to Dublin and have very little say in what happens in our own county.  Councillor Hendy supported his fellow members in recommending An Bord Pleanala reject this application.

Councillor Glennon was disappointed by the attitude of Bord na Mona to Councillor Weld and McEvoy in failing to inform them of the proposal.  She felt that the role of the council in this proposal was being regarding as insignificant.  She also felt that the effects of the existing development was already being felt with local drivers being intimidated, wear and tear on ditches and roads and the HGV’s not taking the prescribed routes.  She compared the effects of the development to existing landfills at Kill and Silliot Hill and mentioned issues such as smell, ground water and habitats.  She did not feel that Kildare should take any waste from other counties and that strategic management of waste disposal was needed. Councillor Glennon also felt that only a fraction of the money being made was being put towards community gain and fully supported her fellow members in recommending An Bord Pleanala reject this application.

Councillor Dukes confirmed to the meeting that she had located the e-mail received from the Planning Department dated 9 May 2008.  Councillor Dukes stated that Kildare had a stand-alone policy in relation to waste management and not a regional based policy as used in other counties.  She requested the records that were required under the planning permission be distributed to all members and fully supported her fellow members in recommending An Bord Pleanala reject this application.

Councillor Power queried how Minister Ryan would have been involved in approving this proposal.  He also queried page 7 of the Manager’s report asking how many counties were in the GDA and the North East Region.  Councillor Power stated that the Manager’s Report did not condemn this development enough and that the report should have been circulated earlier for consideration by the members.  He also commented on the effects to the roads and agreed with imposing a levy of €1.50 index linked to prevent further damage to the road network.

Councillor McEvoy referred to the Manager’s report and felt that the details of the location of the site in radius to certain villages was insufficient and in particular felt that Carbery, Ticknevin, Prosperous, Kilmeague and Robertstown should also be included as within a radius of between 3 and less than 6 Km of the proposed site.  He also felt that there were hydrology issues and felt the Manager’s report on pages 6, 9 and 10 were not clear.  Councillor McEvoy mentioned that on the original application to Kildare County Council, Fehily Timoney Consultants had addressed the Environment SPC meeting giving a detailed technical report and raised an issue of a deep gravel bed running North East South West past the proposed site and underneath it.  He indicated that he had subsequently spoken to Professor Adrian Phillips a geologist technical advisor to Bord na Mona who had grave concerns with the proposal and that it was his belief that a deep gravel bed of 23 million years ago links Dysart and Robertstown passing under the footprint of the landfill and could cause an enormous outflow of water.  He requested that a hydrology study be carried out and the original study to be taken in account and that this should be included as a priority condition set out in Manager’s report on page 9.  Councillor McEvoy also referred to the Robertstown Countryside Policy (RC1) set out in the County Development Plans 1985 and 1999 and that while is was included in the first draft of the County Development Plan 2005 – 2011 it appeared to have been left out of the final print.  He also queried if a specific task of the Waste Management Plan to ‘review status of proposed waste management facilities in the county with regard to recovery, recycling and disposal’ had been carried out for the year 2008 and which he felt was relevant to the current discussion.  Mr Holligan, Senior Engineer, Environment Department confirmed that a review had been carried out in 2006 and 2007 but not as yet for 2008.

Councillor McGinley confirmed to the meeting that it was necessary for 2 Ministers to include the Minister for Finance to approve capital expenditure of such significance to Bord na Mona.

Councillor Doyle felt that a resolution to include levy of €1.50 was showing support to grant this application.  Councillor Weld felt that if permission were granted then it was important to have a levy included to generate sufficient funding to improve and maintain the roads of North West Kildare.

The Mayor re-iterated the position set out in the Managers report that in the event of permission being granted for this proposal that there would be funding for community gain. The County Manager advised the members to put their proposals to a vote.  Mr Lahart confirmed that this application was not subject to a material contravention and that a copy of the EIS was available for public inspection to everybody.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Weld, seconded by Councillor Fitzpatrick, and agreed unanimously by all the members present,

That the council recommends to An Bord Pleanala, that the proposed extension to the landfill at Drehid by Bord na Mona, be rejected by them as agreed by the members of Kildare County Council.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Fitzpatrick, seconded by Councillor Hendy, and agreed unanimously by all the members present,

That the council recommends to An Bord Pleanala that in the event of permission being granted, an additional levy of €1.50 per tonne, index linked, be paid to the Roads Authority for roads impacted by the development.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Weld, seconded by Councillor Power, and agreed unanimously by all the members present,

That the council recommends to An Bord Pleanala that in the event of permission being granted, the €1.27 per tonne payable on waste, agreed under condition no. 17 of An Bord Pleanala’s decision PL09.212059, be extended to the proposed additional 240,000 tonnage and that it be index linked.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Fitzpatrick, seconded by Councillor Weld, and agreed unanimously by all the members present,

That the council recommends to An Bord Pleanala that in the event of permission being granted, before commencement of development, the developer shall agree with the Roads Authority road pavement improvements necessary to facilitate the development.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McEvoy, seconded by Councillor Fitzpatrick, and agreed unanimously by all the members present,

That the council recommends to An Bord Pleanala that in the event of permission being granted, before commencement of development, the developer to prepare a Hydrology Study and in doing so, to have regard to the previous study carried out.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McEvoy, seconded by Councillor Weld, and agreed unanimously by all the members present,

It is the resolve of the council that it is the policy of the council to protect the amenities of this area and to encourage the development of the water recreation facilities and other amenities. The council will assist the Robertstown Countryside Committee and other bodies interested in developing the waterways, walking routes and other amenities of the area and will strictly control development.

 

2/07/08

To consider proposed response to green paper, ‘Stronger Local Democracy – Options for Change’

The members discussed the submission from the Corporate Policy Group in relation to ‘Stronger Local Democracy – Options for Change’.  The members agreed that they were not in favour of directly elected mayors.  The meetings administrator confirmed to the members that the closing date for submissions was 31 July 2008 and that members may make individual submission.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Hillis that the submission be approved.

 

3/0708

Correspondence

The council noted receipt of the following correspondence:

Letter from the Health Service Executive, acknowledging receipt of letter from Kildare County Council in relation to Cystic Fibrosis and outlining their position.

Letter from Limerick Council requesting circulation of resolution to all members regarding review of the operation of Voluntary Housing Schemes.

Letter from Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs acknowledging receipt of letter from Kildare County Council in relation to their views on the WTO negotiations.

Letter received from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government acknowledging receipt of letter from Kildare County Council in relation to graffiti.

 

4/0708

Motion – Councillor S Doyle

That a policy be adopted to condition apartment buildings with the provision of adequate janitor space and that that space be determined by the size and number of units provided in the complex

The meetings administrator referred to a report from the planning department advising that the 2007 Guidelines on Apartment developments by the DoEHLG do not refer to the provision of ‘janitor space’ and therefore would find it difficult to impose such a requirement but recommended that the item be referred to the Economic Planning & Development SPC for further consideration.  Councillor Doyle indicated that apartments have issues with management companies and felt it would be a practical way to deal with space for janitors and that there should be a policy in place.  It was agreed that this item be referred to the Economic Planning & Development SPC for further consideration.

 

5/0708

Motion Councillor Power

In the matter of development levies for 2007, 2006 and 2005 that this council be  informed:

(a) How much was levied?

(b) How much was collected?

(c) If it is known how much is yet to be collected?

(e) How it is known how much is to be collected?

(d) How much was spent?

for each of the three years.

The meetings administrator advised the members that a lengthy report had been received from the planning department on this item and it was agreed to circulate it to all the members.

 

6/07080

In the matter of work contracted to outside consultants for 2005, 2006 and 2007 that this council be informed:

(a)       How much was spent on outside consultants?

(b)       In what disciplines do these consultants operate, e.g., planning, road design, traffic management, architecture, village/town/county development plans/surveys, house surveys, house repairs, legal advice, auctioneering, property procurement, water and waste water design/services?

(c)       Within each of these disciplines, how much was spent?

 for each of the three years.

The meetings administrator advised the members that reports on this motion had been received from the various departments and it was agreed to circulate the reports to all members and should Councillor Power feel the reports were not adequate the motion would remain on the agenda.

7/0708

Motion – Councillor McGinley

That this Council adopts the  "White Light" Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) public

lighting concept as policy for all new residential estates as this street lighting system:

(a)       Is 35% more efficient than standard street lighting

(b)       It lessens light pollution because the light can be directed downwards more efficiently (Just 1% is diffused upwards as opposed to 30% for conventional street lighting)

(c)   It makes people feel safer because the colour is rendered better and facial recognition is easier.

This type of lighting has been in use in Elmwood, Blessington Road, Naas for the past  two years. It is also in use in a walkway around the lakes on the Ballymore Eustace Road, near the hospital. Also, Donegal and Dunlaoighre Rathdown County Councils have adopted it as policy.

The meetings administrator read a report from the planning department stating that recommendations regarding installation of street lighting in new residential estates is made through the Roads department and requires the developer to comply with the standards laid down by the ESB.  The planning department would support the use of more energy efficient lighting.  Councillor McGinley confirmed that this initiative had already been adopted by two councils and it should be included as a condition of all planning permissions.  Councillor S Doyle supported this motion.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor S Doyle, that this Council adopts the  "White Light" Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) public

lighting concept for all new residential estates.  

 

8/0708

Motion – Councillor McEvoy

Kildare County Council urges the Minister for the Environment to establish a Liffey Valley Authority, or similar body, which would have responsibility for the implementation of agreed policies in relation to the long term protection of the valley’s landscapes and the development of its potential for recreation and tourism. Such a body would have representation from the four Local Authorities of Kildare, South Dublin, Fingal, Dublin City and other interested parties, including the O.P.W.

The meetings administrator read a report from the Community & Enterprise Department outlining the objectives of the Liffey Valley Strategy and indicating that in principle, the council would have no objection with the establishment of the proposed Authority/Body.  It was agreed to circulate a copy of the report to all members.  Councillor McEvoy confirmed that a similar Liffey Authority had been established years ago without any real powers and felt the same may happen again.  Councillor Griffin expressed his concern that the proposed Authority may supercede decisions made by Kildare County Council and felt that the motion required more consideration.  Councillor Hendy requested that this motion be referred to the members of the Mid-East Regional Authority for comment.  The meetings administrator advised the members that the establishment of the proposed authority would have financial implications.  It was also felt that the ESB would need to be involved due to legislative powers.  Councillor McEvoy agreed to amend the wording of the motion from ‘establish’ to ‘propose’.

09/0708

Motion - Councillor McEvoy

That the Council should adopt a policy of stricter legal enforcement in relation to unauthorised development, taking a lead from Carlow where a 100% follow up on Enforcement Notices has reduced the rate of failure to respond to 4%. It seems the failure to take this type of action leads rapidly to a reversal of these rates

The meetings administrator read a report from the planning department outlining the position to include statistics in relation to enforcement of unauthorised development for 2007.  Councillor McEvoy referred to a printout from the DoEHLG website showing statistics for the whole country.  Mr Lahart advised the members that enforcement in county Kildare could not be compared to county Carlow.  Mr O’Sullivan agreed to discuss the report with Councillor McEvoy.  The members discussed the process of dealing with unauthorised development and felt that some cases never seemed to be resolved.  Mr Lahart advised the meeting that enforcement was a lengthy process that required meticulous attention and confirmed that he would prepare a report for the September meeting dealing with the overall context and activity in the area of unauthorised development in county Kildare.

 

10/0708

Motion – Councillor McNamera

That the council be advised as to grants and other funding options available from state agencies so that Kildare County Council can purchase land for recreation and amenity

The meetings administrator read a report from the community and enterprise section indicating that no funding was available for this purpose.

 

11/0708

Committee Reports and Recommendation

Naas Area

Following the goodwill gesture by Naas Town Council in providing a site for the new swimming pool in Naas that this committee now supports the request to provide land at the old swimming pool site in Naas to gain access to the primary and secondary schools.

The members discussed this recommendation indicating that a right of way for access for cars and buses for the schools was needed and felt it would be a goodwill gesture on behalf of Kildare County Council to allow this access.   Mr Lahart confirmed that the schools have access on a temporary basis and that an Action Area Plan was currently being prepared.  He advised the members to await the initial report from the Consultants on the Action Area Plan.  It was agreed to defer this matter.

To approve the award of grants for environmental projects in Ballymore Eustace.

Report submitted recommending award of grants for environmental projects to The Presbytery Ballymore Eustace for the sum of €500 and the Tidy Towns for the sum of €2,000.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Callaghan, seconded by Councillor Hills the awards listed above are awarded.

 

12/0708

Motion - Mayor Griffin

That where infill developments occur in housing estates, the levies accruing from the infill project be utilised to correct outstanding works in that particular estate.

The meetings administrator read report from the planning department to indicate that infill developments in housing estates are treated in the same way as all residential dwellings when applying the contribution scheme.  Councillor Griffin felt that this was an issue to be highlighted and requested that it be considered in the next review of the development contribution scheme.

 

13/0708

Motion - Councillor McGinley

That it is hereby resolved and accepted as council policy that housing applicants will not be removed from the waiting list where it can be established that they have a continued housing need e.g. by being in receipt of rent subsidy, income record etc., and that applicants who do not meet deadlines for review of their applications are not required to forfeit their place on the waiting list and start from scratch and that the annual review procedure be examined to see if a simpler format could be devised for the application form.

This motion was deferred to the July meeting.

 

14/0708

Motion - Councillor Nolan

That Kildare County Council must take a more active role in the conservation and protection of the Peat bogs throughout the county and bring the message through the media on the dangers of fire hazards and the danger to wildlife in these areas

The meetings administrator agreed to circulate a detailed report from the planning department to all members.

 

15/0708

Motion - Councillor Byrne

A large proportion of motorcycle accidents resulting in serious injury and deaths are directly related to road conditions and in particular to road repairs. In light of this I call on Kildare County Council to insist that road works be finished to a high standard for all road users, and that in particular the practice of "bedding in” new surfaces be stopped, and adequate warning of road works be monitored on a daily basis.

The meetings administrator agreed to circulate a report from the transportation department to all members.

 

16/0708

Motion - Councillor Dalton

That the council receives a report on:

(a)       The average length of time taken to secure all occupational therapists

report on housing adaptation grants for people with a disability grant

applications.

(b)       The average length of time taken to issue an approval to commence works

in respect of a housing adaptation application.

(c)       The average length of time taken from the completion of works on an

adaptation grant until full payment is issued to the applicant.

(d)       The details of any "best practice" or "policy document" that is applied

by the housing department to the processing of adaptation grants.

The meetings administrator agreed to circulate a report from the housing department to all members.

17/0708

Any Other Business

Councillor Fitzpatrick acknowledged the recent road safety initiative by the Transportation Department in conjunction with  the Gardai in relation to the cardboard version of a garda squad car and requested that it be moved around the county on a more frequent basis.

 

The meeting then concluded.