Dublin City Transportation Plans: Motion.

I move:

That Seanad Éireann

—condemns the decision by the Government to include a multi-lane motorway, running through the centre of Dublin from Whitehall on the north side to Booterstown on the south side, in its transportation plans for Dublin City;

—further condemns the failure of the local authority, Dublin Corporation, to conduct a feasibility study or environmental impact study of the proposals prior to adoption;

—recommends that the estimated £200 million cost, involving EC Structural Funds and taxpayers' money, should be invested in the development of an attractive public transport system to relieve congestion in the city caused by the uncontrolled use of private transport;

—and calls on the Government to rescind its decision immediately.

I welcome the Minister to the Chamber. I am sure he will be, as usual, understanding and willing to co-operate with any request we make on this matter.

The motion is extremely important dealing with an age old problem in the city of Dublin. It is unfortunate that it should rear its head at this time. There were a number of years when there was tremendous emphasis on the development of Dublin as an attractive, vibrant, cultural capital and in the Millennium year of 1988 tremendous strides were made. I would like to pay tribute to the then Lord Mayor, Carmencita Hederman who is now a Senator, for focusing so strongly on the whole issue of the environment in the city of Dublin and indeed in the nation generally. Certainly there was tremendous focus on the city at that time.

In the years 1989 and 1990 we debated in this House the Derelict Sites Bill and the Building Control Bill. We put in place legislation to protect our city. This year, 1991, Dublin has been designated cultural capital of Europe. In the last couple of years we felt that the tide was turning in relation to prioritising the culture, the environment and the community of the city and that things were moving positively rather than negatively. In the same period the Custom House Docks development took place, a desirable development in general terms. In its structure there were plans for the development of a very attractive marina going down to the Liffey. This is one of the major causes of this problem with the eastern by-pass. In developing the marina, access to the port and docks on the north side of the Liffey was cut off.

Presumably it was in that context that the Government, in co-operation with the European Commission, decided to agree to allocate £96 million to the Dublin port access route which stretched from Whitehall, the junction of the northern motorway from Swords, the airport and the North, down as far as East Wall. That gave birth to the extension which became the eastern by-pass. There were further proposals to cross the Liffey, proposals made at the time of the Dublin transport study in 1971.

What was proposed, and what we had thought had been killed off in 1980, was that a multi-lane highway would go right across from Whitehall, tunnelling under houses in Griffith Avenue, across grounds in Drumcondra partly owned by the Archbishop of Dublin and through the football grounds of Rosmini community school, a school for the partially blind. It was intended that the laneway would cross the football pitch of that school before going through open cut and tunnelling underground past Fairview and the flats in Ballybough. Imagine having a four lane highway and all the noise it would generate underneath one's house. You would need one of Saddam Hussein's bunkers to escape all that noise. That highway is to continue along the Tolka river. How it will take place we still do not know. It will then go into Dublin Port and there is a feasibility study as to how it will cross the Liffey. It crosses over then to Sandymount and there is now a change from a previous proposal for an undercut which was originally there to keep it out of the view of passersby to new proposals for a tunnel. It changes all the time. There is a proposal for a further tunnel under Sandymount Strand and then a further feasibility study as to how it will go through Booterstown. This proposal has been made by Dublin engineers, not by Dublin planners. The planning section in Dublin Corporation had almost no say in the Eastern by-pass project and the plan went from the engineers to the General Purposes Committee in Dublin Corporation — not the planning committee — which would have been the normal and proper body to have dealt with it.

The original plan was amended to include the present plan incorporating the total length from Whitehall down to Booterstown; the only provision was that it would be subject to a feasibility study and an environmental impact study. The ludicrous situation now is that the plans are before the public who have until 8 March to make their submissions objecting to these plans. At the very same time, this month, we are embarking on a feasibility study which does not cover the entire route, only part of the route, and an environmental impact study, neither of which can be completed, even if they were comprehensive. We all know they are not intended to be completed until the exhibition is taken back to City Hall. Any objections were made subsequent to us possibly seeing the broad nature of the environmental impact or of any other feasibility issues. The studies will come out in the middle of summer, July at the earliest, and the plans will be taken off exhibition by 8 March. What a ludicrous set of procedures. How could any decent planners with concern for the city, particularly when you think about the quantity of area, the extent of the possible problems that could arise and the number of communities that will be affectd by a highway going right through the city centre of Dublin, operate in that fashion? These are not just bad procedures, they are illegal.

This is not something that the corporation should be doing because section 69 of the Environmental Protection Agency Bill that we were discussing today makes a specific reference to procedures that have to be adopted in relation to environmental planning. It specifically refers to two Statutory Instruments to which I refer the Minister. Statutory Instrument 349 of 1989, the environmental impact assessment is a general Statutory Instrument in relation to planning and environmental impact. Statutory Instrument No. 221 of 1988 specifically deals with the European Community environmental impact assessment on motorways. That instrument, which I took the opportunity of perusing in the Library, is very specific. Section 3 says that section 4 of the Act should be amended by the following section: Before making a scheme under this section a road authority shall have regard to the preservation of scenic and natural amenities and shall prepare an environmental impact study of the proposed motorway which shall identify, describe and assess the direct and indirect environmental defects of the construction of the proposed motorway before making the scheme. What are the areas to be covered by the environmental impact study? First, human beings, fauna and flora; secondly, soil, water, air, climate, landscape; thirdly, the interaction between the matters referred to above; fourthly, material assets and, fifthly, the cultural heritage. It goes on to describe in considerable detail the proposed motorway and refers to the emission of pollutants and the creation of nuisance. In relation to the environmental impact study, it states that when the scheme is being prepared a copy of the scheme and the map referring to the environmental impact study may be inspected and submissions can be made to the Minister and so on.

Clearly the intent, both the spirit and the letter of that Instrument, is that feasibility and environmental studies would be made prior to possible objections being lodged because it is simply impossible to lodge comprehensive objections, with the full knowledge of what may be the nature of the objections, until the legislation, as prescribed by the European Community in 1988 and which is the law of this land at present, has been adhered to. This development by the corporation, with the support of the Government because of their initial decision to put taxpayers' money and Structural Funds into it for this purpose, is not just a white elephant, it is in flagrant breach of the law of the land.

It is intended that this roadway will have the capacity to take 70,000 cars, each car can, in the course of one year, produce approximately four times its own weight in pollutants through exhaust and gas omissions. That is a frightening consequence and at the same time the public do not have available to them a scientific properly researched study of its impact. The Minister must immediately address this very serious matter.

The second part of the motion relates to the amount of money to be spent, estimated at £200 million; indeed many commentators estimate it to be at least £300 million or £400 million, it could easily be double the original costing. Is there an alternative? We have a problem with Dublin Port which must be addressed. A number of proposals have been made and they should certainly be the subject of an independent study. That is what I mean when I talk about a feasibility study. I am not just talking about a feasibility study that covers parts of the motorway to see whether they are feasible in terms of the routes and so on. I am talking about the feasibility study which is required to see what is the best way of dealing with the problems that the corporation and the Government have identified in relation to access to the port and in relation to the gross congested overcrowding that takes place in the city of Dublin.

A major contribution was made to the debate by the Electricity Supply Board with their set of proposals to transfer Dublin Port to a location at Lough-shinney on the north side of Dublin at a cost of £160 million, which would have ready access to the various areas to which the traffic goes. Dublin Port conducted their own study and found that the cost was approximately double that proposed by the ESB. Whatever the cost there is a feasible proposal meaning that all the problems created in relation to the development of Dublin in terms of transport problems and in terms of access to the port and heavy containerised traffic could be dealt with very simply in that fashion. That proposal was made by a major body and costed by them. It deserves an independent assessment.

It is also possible that a tunnel could be constructed under the quays because, according to the plans, much of what we are talking about is going to be underground. Therefore, why not build a tunnel along the western, southern cross or northern by-pass routes? How come this option was not considered in the feasibility study? Can the existing railway line to the port be examined to see if it could be used to transport cargo to a central depot on the outskirts of the city from where it could be distributed nationwide as required?

Those possibilities have not been the subject of any study and have not been considered. We have decided to follow the straightforward policy which has existed for the past two decades and which has been revamped with a few minor alterations in relation to tunnelling. It has been dropped upon us again two decades after it was initially proposed and one decade after it was rejected out of hand by the city council. Now, because of a majority on the city council, it has been accepted.

On the issue of commuter traffic, we have to examine whether what is being proposed will lead to an increase or a decrease in traffic. On the one hand, Dublin Corporation say this will be a fast lane for container traffic heading for the port and straight out on the southern side while, on the other hand, they tell every community in the city it will get rid of the problem of commuters cutting through small areas in East Wall, Ballybough and on the south side. They are pretending that it will solve the two problems. On the one hand they say only through traffic will be allowed while on the other they say it will relieve congestion. It will not solve both problems. What is going to happen? Nobody seems to know. All we know is that the old plans have been brought in again.

The only effective commuter transport system we have designed so far in Dublin is the DART system. Indeed, it has been so successful that more than 50 per cent of the workforce in the areas in which it operates use it whereas in other areas roughly 28 per cent of the workforce use public transport. If we are to solve the problems in the city we must use a rapid light rail system, but this has not been considered either by the Government or by Dublin Corporation. Approximately £27 million of taxpayers' and EC funds has been put aside for the development of the public transport system while approximately £300 million has been put aside for the construction of roads in the city. This is ludicrous and anti the development of a vibrant city.

This city could be developed like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool where all the old buildings were knocked down and highways constructed or we could develop the city as other European cities have been developed, where inner cities and their communities have been preserved intact and restrictions have been placed on commuter traffic in and out of the city. That is the choice we have to make. Either we are going to have a living, attractive city or a city of bricks and mortar and roads. We have now reached the critical point.

If this development goes ahead a highway will run through the centre of Dublin, traffic congestion will worsen, there will be an increase in the number of private cars in the city, resulting in heavier pollution and emissions, a decrease in the quality of life and the environment of the city, and an undermining of the city as a cultural capital. These are matters we have to address. It is not only a matter for the local authority, the Government must also accept some responsibility. I ask the Minister for the Environment to look at this matter again and tell the local authority that they must have a proper exhibition, subsequent to the feasibility study and the environmental impact assessment. This road scheme and its purpose should be reviewed and all the other possibilities should be the subject of an independent examination and review.

In seconding the motion, I wish to state that it must be obvious to everyone that traffic in Dublin is chaotic and inordinate amounts of time are lost commuting relatively short distances. This problem has plagued the city for the past 20 years or more. In addition, in recent times we have seen a new disorder, that is the new phenomenon of rat running. Indeed, Senator Costello mentioned a number of rat runs in the north of the city. I can tell him and the House that there is no shortage of rat runs in the south of the city; it is a dull day when one does not receive representations about some rat run in some part of Dublin south. This morning I was at a meeting attempting to solve one such problem in Harold's Cross. Problems are also being experienced in Rafters Road, Drimnagh, Rockfield Avenue, Wainsfort Avenue, Wainsfort Crescent, and the list goes on and on. I will not bore the House by listing them all. This is one of the side effects of the traffic chaos in Dublin.

There is no doubt that there is a need for some initiative to be taken to eliminate this chaos. It seems that the approach of Dublin Corporation engineers and the Government is to build more and more roads which in turn encourages the use of cars. There is a chain reaction in that as one builds more roads more cars use them and invariably the volume of traffic exceeds the capacity of the roads. In many ways this society is addicted to cars getting to and from work and travelling relatively short distances. One of the reasons for this addiction is the inadequacy of the public transport system in the city which is unreliable in that people are left standing at bus stops for long periods waiting for buses. This is not the fault of the bus companies, as buses cannot run on schedule because of the traffic chaos.

In addition, there is an alarming lack of hard data on which to base firm decisions in relation to the development of a proper traffic policy. I understand that the last survey of heavy goods vehicles in the Dublin area, with both origin and destination specified, with particular reference to the port area, was carried out in 1977. I believe there are no recent data on traffic levels in Dublin outside the city boundary. The last land use survey data in relation to the city were collected in 1966 and 1974, and land use is a vital aspect and component of traffic management. Therefore, we have relatively little hard data and relatively little research on which to base decisions. At the same time, as Senator Costello has outlined in considerable detail, we have now, as it were, a de facto plan for a huge motorway to run right across Dublin Bay to some of the areas of greatest amenity not just in this city but in any city in the world, areas that have immense historical and literary connotations, Joyce's connection with Sandymount and so on. In addition, we have something like £96 million apparently allocated for this from the EC and various other sources. The estimated cost is of the order of £200 million. That figure would seem to be based on the most optimistic assumptions. Another school of thought indicates that the figure could be of the order of £400 million or even greater. There has been a tendency in the past for many of these construction works to overrun their budget and when they do, to paraphrase Macbeth, “When you are steeped in blood so far you should wade no more”. Certainly once you are in you are in until the thing is complete and it does not matter much at what the cost works out.

There seems to be an attitude at large among the people who really call the shots and make these plans that one should try to cope as best one can. Invariably they have coped very poorly with peak traffic levels. It would seem far more sensible that the planners endeavour to encourage reduction in the peak level of traffic rather than try to cope with it. A fundamental flaw in the whole approach to this problem is that the attitude seems to be one of attempting to cope with and cater for maximum levels of traffic flow instead of taking the sensible course and trying to discourage traffic from coming onto the road, especially private commuters most of whom would readily take public transport to work if there was a proper public transport system available. That is well illustrated in people's attitudes in those areas served by the DART. If I understand the data properly, something like a third of the people who live in the areas served by the DART take their cars to work whereas the remaining two-thirds who have cars opt to leave them at home and use public transport simply because the DART is an excellent system for the areas it serves.

I agree with Senator Costello and I urge the Minister to think again very carefully before this plan is implemented. There will be enormous problems of noise, vibration, and air pollution from the exhaust fumes from cars. In this connection an interesting figure has been quoted, namely, that the amount of pollutants produced by a car in a year amounts to four times the weight of the car. That is alarming. There will be damage to amenities and I have already alluded to the effect on the amenities derived from the historical connections between Sandymount Strand and Joyce and that whole area. There will also be the effect these developments would have on wildlife. Some very interesting wild birds have habitats along Dublin Bay. There are interesting ecological phenomena around Dublin Bay and those eco-systems will be destroyed if this plan goes ahead. Enormous chaos will arise during the construction of such a motorway.

A rapid light rail system should be examined carefully to see what possibilities are there. The answer is in a proper public transportation system. The people I am involved with and represent in areas like Crumlin and Drimnagh, many of whom cannot afford cars, will not have their problem solved by big motorways and they would benefit greatly from an improved public transport system which at present is badly needed in those parts of south Dublin.

For that reason I am happy to second the motion.

First, I would like to inform Senator Costello that the Labour Party, the Fianna Fáil Party, Fine Gael, the Progressive Democrats and one Independent councillor supported this proposal which he is condemning at the moment. He should contact his colleagues on the City Council.

To be accurate, the Labour Party did not support that.

They did so.

That is not true. The Labour Party as a body did not support it.

The facts are there that the Labour Party did support it.

Senator Ryan should address the Chair and not invite interruptions.

I would like to point out that the proposal was agreed on, I think, a three to one margin.

The problem with this motion is that it shows clear lack of understanding of the proposal. First, it is not a multi-lane motorway running through the centre of Dublin. In Dublin, Westmoreland Street, O'Connell Street and the Quays are the officially designated national primary routes which go through the heart of Dublin. That is the route at the moment. This proposal will, it is hoped, when the report comes back, take much of that traffic out of the centre of Dublin. As the title suggests, it is a port access and eastern relief route. The inclusion of this route is clearly to enhance the economic prosperity of this city with the maximum benefit and the minimum damage to the environment and community life of the city.

Dublin Port is the largest industrial complex in the country. Its growth and development are vital to the economic life of the city and there is duty and obligation on the part of central and local Government to pursue the objectives of maintaining a thriving port in Dublin. Even the harshest critics of the proposal admit there is a genuine problem with port traffic in Dublin but they have not come up with practical solutions to the problem. The idea of shifting the container traffic element of the port to a north county location would still leave mini port to be serviced elsewhere and as bulk ore, bulk feed, coal, steel, timber, car imports etc.; in other words, moving part of the port activity would need a mini port to be serviced elsewhere and would not reduce significantly the existing activity in the port area.

The second point of this motion refers to the need for Dublin Corporation to conduct a feasibility and environmental impact study. The need for this study has been accepted and Dublin Corporation have commissioned consultants to carry out the work. Progress on the proposal is, of course, conditional on this report. The question of adopting the plan before adopting the report is irrelevant and indicates a lack of understanding of Dublin Corporation's role both as a planning authority and a roads authority. As a planning authority the corporation have a duty to plan in outline form their objectives and designs for the city. This process is currently under way and the final amendments to the current plan, including this road proposal, are on public display at the moment in the Irish Life Centre on Middle Abbey Street. The corporation's role as a roads authority is entirely separate and the details of major road proposals will be adopted only after the appropriate feasibility and environmental impact study has been adopted. It is, therefore, entirely incorrect to imply or suggest that detailed road proposals will be adopted or proceeded with prior to the appropriate studies being carried out.

The final point made in this motion concerning road proposals versus road transport proposals is totally incorrect in its assumptions and generalisations. It is obvious that Senator Costello has not read the development plan of Dublin Corporation Planning Committee which is at present on view. The Dublin Corporation plans call for public transport, traffic management and roads improvement as the solution to Dublin's transport problems. It is not a question of options in that there must be investment in all of these areas of traffic and transport needs. I might add that the city plan so states. It is also a fact that public transport needs in Dublin primarily are road-based and are likely to continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Our present road-based public transport needs relief to allow it operate more effectively and efficiently and this should be done in conjunction with traffic management; in other words, if we widen a road one part will become a bus lane and the remainder will be for commuters. That is traffic management and what is taking place in other parts of Europe. I have with me here a list of 37 cities in Europe, many of them beautiful, like Madrid, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Birmingham, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm and so on, a list of motorways and inner ring roads; many of those cities have both but the only city that does not have either is Dublin.

The city of Dublin at present faces serious traffic congestion problems, public transport congestion, difficulties of access to the port and general stagnation of city streets. There is another problem associated with this congestion which is pollution and intolerable living conditions for people in areas such as Sandymount, East Wall, Marino, Fair-view and similar regions. There is no use in our attempting to evade such problems. There is no benefit to the city of Dublin in procrastinating or in creating unnecessary fear and anxiety. The port access and Eastern relief route is a genuine attempt to ease Dublin's transport problems. Its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks and all reasonable people in Dublin will welcome a commitment to implement this proposal.

I might refer now to some points made by Senator Costello. Perhaps I am misinterpreting what he said but I have never heard that the reason for building the road was a marina. The Senator spoke about tunnelling. Is he seriously telling me that people in London, New York, Paris and other cities with an underground rail system are upset because they live above such a system, because it is exactly the same if there is a road built beneath? If we were building an underground rail system is the Senator telling me he would be opposed to it because people have to live above it? It just does not make sense. The planning committee of Dublin Corporation have discussed this matter ad nauseam. Since the draft development plan was put on view on the last occasion we have received 15,000 submissions; there were 23 meetings of the planning committee to discuss it, four meetings of the general purposes committee, two meetings of the City Council and some on-site meetings. If one could not make up one's mind after all those meetings, all I can say is that one needed to be committed.

Senator Costello maintained that communities were being affected. I would say to Senator Costello that he must be aware that communities are being affected already by the traffic which is diabolical at present and will not be relieved by a public transport system. We must remember there is a public transport system obtaining — the DART goes right along this route and relieves the problem to a certain extent only. I contend that if the DART ceased to operate tomorrow there would be further chaos. I agree with Senator Costello there. However, it has to be said that there is an existing public transport system. If Senator Costello believes the present proposal is illegal he has a responsibility to do something about it. The Senator implied that any decision thereon would be taken behind closed doors. I might add that everybody was given a commitment that, when this road plan is drawn up, it will be put on public view when the public will have the right to examine it and lobby their representatives on whether they want them to vote for or against it. We have clearly stated that fact on numerous occasions.

Senator Upton said we have had a plague of traffic for the past 20 years; he is correct in that assertion, but what have the Labour Party done about it? The answer is they have done absolutely nothing; in Government their commitment to public transport has been nil. It was the Fianna Fáil Party who implemented the DART system while the Labour Party did nothing about it. Indeed, they have done nothing about public transport when in Government. Therefore it will be seen that their commitment to such is not sincere. They have never done anything about it when in power which is a reflection of their commitment to public transport.

I am very glad to have ten short minutes to debate this subject. I should like to say how much I resented Senator Haughey's attempt earlier in the day to prevent the debate and to muzzle councillors — the Minister was not present at the time — endeavouring to maintain that it was out of order for the Labour Party to put down this motion because the road plan had gone on public view and, for that reason, it was not right that it should be debated here.

It was irresponsible.

However, I am glad to say that he did not succeed in muzzling the Members of the Seanad——

Senator Hederman should use her time constructively.

——in the same way members of the City Council were muzzled on the night this proposal went through the City Hall Chamber. Senator Eoin Ryan spoke of this debate and the way people vote being so democratic. I want to alert Senators to the position in City Hall, which is totally dominated by the Fianna Fáil Party with a Fianna Fáil chairman and where the reality is that the proposers and seconders of motions on the roads were not even given an opportunity to speak. There was a time constraint imposed. This meant that many of the motions on the draft proposals to the development plan — those affecting roads being the principal ones — were simply steamrolled through. Councillors did not have an opportunity of speaking. What Senator Eoin Ryan says may be true in that there were a great many meetings of the planning committee but it is the City Council who take the final decision. There are 18 members only on the planning committee and 52 members on the City Council. They need to be given an opportunity to hear the debate, to hear the points made on both sides before making up their minds, an opportunity which I am sorry to say was denied them. As Senator Costello said, this road plan came before the City Council in 1980 when I was a member of the council. It was thrown out, lock, stock and barrel by a democratic decision of the City Council. Two years later, Dublin Corporation commissioned outside consultants to reconsider that proposal. In spite of that consultancy it was not incorporated in the 1987 draft plan but, I would contend, was introduced by the back door, not in the planning committee but at the general purposes committee, denying planners input.

I know, and I am sure Senator Eoin Ryan knows, there are many planners in this city who are very happy about the preponderance of road proposals put forward. Senator Eoin Ryan referred to a balanced approach to roads, public transport and traffic management. The reality is that roads constitute the option constantly favoured and public transport is the poor relation, the amount of money allocated to public transport in comparison with roads being quite pathetic. For example, in the National Development Plan there were £212 million — although on another occasion I saw a figure quoted of £300 million — dedicated to roads and £36 million only to public transport. How Senator Eoin Ryan can speak about a balanced approach to traffic I simply do not understand.

I accept that we have a traffic problem in this city — nobody who travels around this city can deny that — but we have a problem because the policies we have been implementing have been lamentably wrong. The sooner Senator Eoin Ryan and his colleagues wake up to that fact and begin to put in place some new policies the sooner we will have some progress in that direction. The continuous chant of Fianna Fáil councillors is we must have more roads; we have not had a proper road building programme; we have not had road widening. I do not expect the Minister to know this because she is not a Dubliner and has not occupied her portfolio for a long time but I would like to give her the facts. I have brought with me the relevant pieces of paper containing the statistics. I am frequently told I am exaggerating or misleading — which, of course, is a polite way of saying I am lying — and, on one occasion, I was told I was misleading the council when I quoted these figures. The reality is that in the 1971 plan there were 47 major road proposals, major roads coming into this city were widened. The list is there — I am not going to read them — but places like the Navan Road, Finglas Road, Ballymun Road — 47 major roads into the city were widened.

In the 1980 plan there were 61 major proposals in the five year category and 115 in the long term category, that is in the ten year or longer category. In our present draft plan there are 33 roads included in the five year plan and 29 in the long term plan. How can people maintain that what we need is more, bigger and better roads when that is what we have been doing and the position has been deteriorating all the time? What we need is a change of policy and thinking. I appeal to the Minister, who is a most enlightened Minister, to look at this aspect and review it so that we will not continue down the same dreary unimaginative route. I beg the Minister and the officials to look again and realise that it is time for us to wake up to what some of our neighbouring countries are doing.

With regard to this port access road, Senator Eoin Ryan gives the impression that this road will be built, that the traffic will miraculously be taken from the city centre and will all go onto this road. That is not the case. McCarthy and Partners who did a study for the port authority said that less than 8 per cent of the traffic on the route will be port related. The corporation in their report said that it will only cater for 50 per cent of port traffic, so the scene painted by the previous speaker does not bear any relationship to reality.

I am concerned about the port as is every other councillor, but there are other enlightened measures which could be taken. What concerns me more than anything else is that this eastern by-pass will not be built in the next five or seven years. It will probably be ten years before it is built. What will happen to the port in the meantime? There should be some imaginative proposal, a commitment on the part of the Government to contain commuters coming into the city. There should be a genuine attempt to promote schemes such as car pooling or a whole range of policies which could be implemented, but nothing has been done in these areas.

There may be some small argument in favour of the northern leg of the route but with regard to the southern leg of the route, it will simply be a very attractive new road for the commuters. Senator Ryan is misleading the people of Dublin 4 and the people of Dublin 2 whom he represents by pretending to them that their lifestyle will be improved. The reality is that this will be a bonanza for the commuters. They will be able to come in from the southern side of the city along this route and there will be a large junction near the Glass Bottle Company.

How do you know that?

If Senator Ryan has not seen the plans I urge him to have a look at them though it is difficult to see them as they try to keep them as secret as possible.

That is not true.

The reality is that there is a junction near the Glass Bottle Company and it will allow commuters to come up that road.

That is misleading.

I was told before by people like Councillor Ryan that I was being misleading when I produced details of such roads, but I have been able to produce the evidence for this one in exactly the same way——

You are being purposely misleading.

Acting Chairman

Senator Hederman without interruption, please.

Thank you. I hope you will allow me extra time for the interruption.

Acting Chairman

You have one minute left, Senator.

Commuters will be taken from the DART which is operating very successfully on this route and will be encouraged back onto this road. At the moment 53 per cent of the people coming into the city come in cars and 44 per cent on public transport. On the segment between Stillorgan and Templeogue — all that southern part — 72 per cent of commuters come in by car. This situation will simply get worse if these policies are implemented.

The Minister is aware that Ireland is probably the only country in the European Community without a light rail transit system or a metro system. Places like Bristol, Edinburgh and Newcastle have built or are building light transit systems.

Acting Chairman

Will the Senator conclude her remarks, please?

It is time we looked to some alternatives. We should not proceed down the road we have been following.

In relation to the other aspect of the motion I will simply quote from Deirdre Kelly of the Living City Group as reported in The Irish Times on 17 January who in a few sentences summed it up when she said:

The corporation claims that the Eastern Bypass would be a relief road to take traffic out of the city centre, yet for the past 20 years the engineers have been building roads and widening streets to bring traffic into the city centre.

With regard to another item she said:

Just imagine the Corporation's reaction if someone lodged an application to build a house and said they would explain how and where it would be built after they had received planning permission?

That is precisely the point Senator Costello was making. What we were asked to do and what we agreed to do is put this eastern by-pass proposal into the draft variations of the plan without knowing the implications, without knowing where it will cross the Liffey and without having an environmental assessment done on it. How can the public possibly make a mature judgment?

Senator Hederman is not quoting everything that was in The Irish Times article or series of articles which appeared last week.

Unfortunately, I had not the time.

There were also quotes from Alice Glenn, from the director of transport policy for the Confederation of Irish Industry, from the representatives of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and so on. In fairness to The Irish Times they give a very balanced view occasionally——

They are always very balanced, I am glad to say.

Acting Chairman

Senator Haughey without interruption.

——on various issues. I questioned this morning whether this motion was in order. I did that for a number of reasons. I wondered whether it was appropriate to turn this Seanad Chamber, this House of the Oireachtas, into another meeting of Dublin City Council.

I hope this Chamber will not descend to the level that Fianna Fáil have turned the Dublin City Council Chamber into.

Acting Chairman

Senator Haughey, without interruption.

This matter is presently before Dublin City Council which is democratically elected. If one went into it in detail it is possibly more democratic than this Chamber but that is an argument for academics on another day. However, they decided to include this proposal in their draft development plan. This plan is now on public display until 7 March. In effect, the people are now having their say. They are being requested to make representations and to outline their views in relation to the plan. An environmental impact study and a route feasibility study will shortly be prepared in relation to this road. This will be completed in July. Again, the public, because of the legislation, will be involved in this process. The proposal will then go back to Dublin City Council and they will again adjudicate on the issue. When any road is being planned the public have their say in how it should be planned. There is no question of this road being forced on anybody. We are now right in the middle of the democratic process. It is both premature and inappropriate, even irresponsible, for this House of the Oireachtas to become involved particularly when the public are having their say.

Senator Ryan said that perhaps the Labour Senators in this Chamber should have consulted with their colleagues on Dublin City Council. I would reinforce that. In particular, they should consult with Councillor Michael O'Halloran. I do not want to attribute views to him. That is a matter for him at an appropriate time. The main argument in favour of this road is economic. The economy of Dublin is in decline. An essential ingredient in that economy is the role of Dublin Port. Ireland is a small open economy. The central ingredient in that economy is the role of Dublin Port. Ireland is a small open economy with a high dependence on foreign trade. We are an island nation. We depend on shipping and port facilities for our economic survival and the opening of the Channel Tunnel will further increase that dependence. We will then be the only country in the Community which will have no land link with the EC. At present Dublin Port is being strangled. Commercial traffic cannot get in and out because of traffic congestion. The port is losing more and more trade each year and a large percentage of jobs in the Dublin area are dependent on the port.

As Senator Ryan mentioned, Dublin is the only city in Europe where port traffic has to travel through the city centre. When I was Lord Mayor of Dublin last year I was concerned about the decline of the economy of Dublin and on 19 February, 1990 I called a special meeting of the City Council to discuss this. At this meeting several groups, including the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, the IDA, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and the Dublin Port and Docks Board, put forward their views in relation to the economy. Dublin Tourism also made a submission. I will quote from the submissions to that special meeting of Dublin City Council. Dublin Port and Docks Board said:

The question of Road Access is of supreme importance and Dublin Port welcomes the inclusion of the North and South legs of the Port Access Route in the Dublin Draft Development Plan.

In their submission the Dublin Chamber said:

First under infrastructure is the need to create a road system which will provide much needed relief to the central tourism/business core of the city and which will allow the port at last to win back its lost business... The Western Ring will not solve this decongestion problem... This, therefore, must become a first priority for infrastructure development and will, if accompanied by a fully integrated transportation policy, bring a solution to many problems including allowing an efficient, centre-city public transportation system to be developed.

The IDA presented a paper to that meeting and in their extract on transport they "emphasise the requirement for an efficient public and private transport system within the city and county. Access to seaports, airports and the efficient movement of goods and people through these ports is key to the growth by the economy." Finally, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions put forward a very good paper to that meeting also. They stressed the role of public transport and the need to develop it, with which we all agree. They conclude:

So far as road infrastructure is concerned, the priorities in our view are the completion of the western ring road and the provision of improved access to Dublin Port. The latter will become all the more urgent if the present proposal to close off the existing access along Custom House Quay is implemented.

I mention the series of articles in The Irish Times last week in which the Confederation of Irish Industry and in particular their director of transport policy also came out strongly in favour of the port access road and the eastern relief route. Every group responsible for the management of the economy of Dublin has now come out in favour of this road. Every one of these groups has said that this road is crucial and essential for progress.

Other speakers have mentioned that the traffic in Dublin at present is chaotic. We all agree with that but we disagree on how to solve the problem.

More roads?

The Senator, without interruption.

I will continue to outline my views, the views of Dublin Corporation and many other agencies. There is a three pronged attack to solve this chaotic traffic problem in Dublin. Road widening and construction is one element; the improvement of public transportation is the second element and the third is traffic management. It is the view of Dublin Corporation and the other groups I have mentioned that we need to improve public transportation alongside these other two elements.

Public transport in Dublin involves roads. Senator Eoin Ryan mentioned this. There is room for the rapid rail system but practically and economically in the short or even the medium and long term, roads are going to play a vital part. The argument is that the port access route and the eastern relief route will free the roads for public transport development. Traffic management is essential. Illegal parking must be stopped. We need stricter enforcement of parking regulations. Road works co-ordination and the different elements of traffic management need to be looked at very seriously as part of the overall package.

It was mentioned that certain communities in Dublin will be affected. The great emotional argument is that running motorways through communities is wrong. In fact, this roadway will enhance communities. Senator Ryan will be aware that the residents in Sandymount, Irishtown, Ringsend and small Dublin communities complain their areas are being clogged up with traffic, which should not be there in the first place. This road will remove the commercial traffic——

——from these lovely communities and allow them to develop the way they were intended. Far from destroying communities, this road will enhance them. The construction of this road will not involve the demolition of a single house.

I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate. I and some of my colleagues were surprised to see a motion on the Order Paper dealing with a specific matter which we felt would be more appropriate for discussion in our respective local authorities. Some of my local authority colleagues here have outlined various things that happened in relation to Dublin Corporation. I am not free to comment on them because I do not know about these claims and counterclaims but there are procedures that have to be adhered to. We will have to account for our stewardship either in a few months time or when the local elections are held. I could understand the reason for having a debate in the Seanad on a specific item if it related to transport and road policies.

It is our capital city.

People have raised points on Adjournment debates about as to how money is provided. Most of us — and I am speaking as a member of Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Corporation — have spent many hours debating various problems relating to the transport policy for Dublin. Part of the difficulty is that three authorities are affected by this motion and there is not enough dialogue between them. This could be a matter for local government reform where bordering local authorities from time to time would have a joint forum to discuss matters that are common to their desires and objectives. When local government reform is dealt with we should ensure that one authority is not acting without the knowledge and co-operation of another authority.

We are aware of the chaotic traffic situation in Dublin. A 3 per cent increase in traffic is forecast. Last year there was an increase of the order of 6 per cent in the number of new car plates in the Dublin area. The reality is that a person who a couple of years ago left home at 8 a.m. to get to the workplace at a certain time now has to leave at 7.40 a.m. approximately.

We are all aware of the chronic problem that will have to be tackled by the local authorities by adhering to the carefully constructed rules and regulations. Following that we want a commitment from the Minister and the Department. I should say to the Minister that there have been complaints of lack of timely response in relation to giving information and responding to local authorities. I ask him or his officials to respond more quickly when giving decisions and answers in future. We are all aware of Dublin's chronic problems which will have to be solved. Extra housing will be needed for people coming into the area. The DART has solved certain problems but even the DART is beginning to get overcrowded particularly between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

I ask the Minister to respond positively. I do not think the Seanad is the appropriate place initially to discuss specific problems and specific plans which have been dealt with by Dún Laoghaire Corporation, Dublin County Council and Dublin Corporation. There are set procedures and if people do not like what has been happening there there are means of changing plans and regulations. Local authorities must plan for reform of transport for the next century and must get it right.

I cannot accept this motion. Indeed, I am surprised the issue involved is being raised in this forum and at this time when the movers of the motion must be well aware that the issue raised is under consideration at local authority level. I am also surprised to find that elements of the motion are not based on fact and for that reason I intend to set the record right and, above all, straight.

The motion condemns the decision of the Government to include a multi-lane motorway from Whitehall to Booterstown in their transportation plans for Dublin city. The fact is that there is no such Government decision. What Members may be referring to is the fact that a section of road from Whitehall to Dublin Port, which would form part of a possible route from Whitehall to Booterstown, has been included in a list of individual projects which are expected to receive EC assistance under the approved operational programme on peripherality.

I would recommend to the Members who have raised this motion that they read the programme document fully. If they do so they will find that it points out that the inclusion of an individual project in the list does not necessarily indicate that it has been approved for assistance. Decisions on the projects to be assisted will be made in accordance with specific selection criteria applicable to each of the proposed measures to implement the objectives and strategies of the operational programme. I will detail the background and present position in relation to this scheme in a moment but I can tell the House that, as this road scheme is not as yet part of the statutory development plan for Dublin city, it is entirely premature to be talking about it as if there was an absolute commitment to its implementation.

Let me now deal with the background and current position as to the status of the scheme.

In December 1987 my Department requested Dublin Corporation to undertake a traffic study of Dublin Port and the Custom House Docks area. This study, which was finalised in October 1989, includes recommendations relating to road construction projects, public transport and parking. The main recommendation, in so far as road construction is concerned, was the construction of a port access, to motorway standard, from the airport road to North Port together with a study of the location of an extra river crossing, and the extension of the road along Sandymount Strand to form a full eastern by-pass of the city.

In January 1990, the Dublin City Council agreed to include the recommendations contained in the traffic study as amendments to the Dublin City Draft Development Plan, 1987, which went on public display on 7 January 1991.

The draft of the plan will be kept on public exhibition for three months until 8 March 1991. Objections or representations may be made to the planning authority with respect to the draft and these must be taken into consideration by the authority before the plan is made so there is some time yet to go before we can speak even of the corporation being fully committed to this scheme.

The motion condemns the failure of the local authority to conduct a feasibility study or environmental impact study of the proposal prior to adoption. As I have just explained, there is no plan formally adopted as yet but I can tell the House that the corporation have made significant progress towards commissioning a feasibility study and an environmental impact study relating to the line of the entire route. Both the feasibility and environmental impact studies will be integrated and carried out simultaneously.

The corporation intend to engage consultants to carry out the study and terms of reference for it were approved by my Department on 31 July 1990. At the closing date for receipt of tenders — 3 October 1990—over 30 tenders had been received. These were shortlisted and evaluated by the corporation who have now made a recommendation to my Department for the appointment of consultants. The study itself will take about six months to complete and will be fully funded from State road grants. I see no reason, therefore, to condemn Dublin Corporation in their handling of this matter to date.

I would like to address the issue of the estimated £200 million cost which has been spoken about and its diversion to other uses.

There is at present simply no £200 million available for the port access route which could, even if it were desired, be diverted to public transport. The only commitment envisaged at this stage is to the northern section of the port access route and that is subject to the outcome of the environmental impact study and technical feasibility study as well as to the usual statutory procedures relating to motorway construction. The operational programme on peripherality envisages work commencing on the northern port access in 1993 with the bulk of the estimated £96 million cost falling outside the programme period. So even if we were to abandon the project the only funds to become available for reallocation at this stage would be any grants allocated in 1991 — and these have not been allocated as yet.

There has been a lot of ill-informed comment about the supposed imbalance between road and public transport investment and figures have been quoted from the national development plan to support this contention. The facts are that the various commentators are not comparing like with like. The proposed expenditure on rail will largely be devoted to improving passenger transport services in the Dublin area, while the vast bulk of the roads expenditure is being devoted to the development of the strategic national networks and not to roads to facilitate urban commuter traffic. A lot of the money earmarked for roads under the Operational Programme on Peripherality is going to the construction of the Dublin ring road, which is the single most important road project in the programme. This fulfils a vital strategic need, linking seven national routes radiating from Dublin and allowing long distance and commercial through traffic avoid the city and residential areas. The new road construction will also facilitate bus-based public transport.

I now want to turn to transportation in Dublin. The Minister has been concerned for some time at the need for a coherent transport strategy for Dublin, and for this reason phase 1 of the Dublin Transportation Study was announced last year. Phase 1 will look at where we stand now — what has happened since we had our last major study in 1971, what has been the impact of the major demographic changes, the growth of the new towns, the introduction of DART, the construction of new roads, improved traffic management and so on. A sub-group with Phase 1 of the DTS will look at bus-rail options along the old Harcourt Street line and to Tallaght. Phase 2 will develop a strategy for transportation in Dublin which will carry us well into the 21st century. Consultants to carry out phase 1 have been selected and their appointment will be announced shortly. The task facing the consultants and the study team is a major one. They will have to look at a range of difficult issues and I want to take this opportunity to mention a few.

They will have to look at the reciprocal influences of land use and transportation policies. Land use decisions clearly have transport implications and we only have to look at DART and the Dublin ring road to see that transport decisions influence land use. While much land use is already determined — nobody would suggest knocking down a residential housing estate and replacing it with an industrial estate — there are a number of issues we can look at and a number of land use and transportation options we can test. Access to the city centre has important land use implications. Rapid transit links would clearly influence residential housing densities and location preferences.

The Dublin Transportation Review Group — the steering committee for the study — have established a special working group to consider land use issues and to arrange a special workshop to debate the topic before the terms of reference for phase 2 of the study are prepared.

The Operational Programme on Peripherality makes it clear that continuing major road construction is not the solution to traffic problems in major urban areas. Apart from committed investment, especially on the strategic national routes, the Minister does not envisage further significant new road development in Dublin within the canal ring. Instead we will have to look more to strategies which optimise the use of existing road space. We will all have to face difficult choices. Are we prepared to constrain car use to a greater extent so as to facilitate public transport? How do we ration road space and ensure that it is used for movement rather than parking? How do we ensure that future transport systems are fully consistent with our environmental commitments, including the need to minimise air pollution and greenhouse emissions?

We will have to look especially to the needs of those who do not own cars. How will we improve transport access to the new towns and mobility within them, especially in low income areas which depend on public transport? We must not forget that bicycles and feet are very energy efficient and environmentally friendly forms of transport. How can we make greater provision for them in a total transport strategy, taking account also of safety factors?

The Minister is committed to ensuring that there will be a full assessment of the environmental impact of future transportation strategies and of major projects as well. He is also most anxious that there should be adequate public participation in the process of transportation planning for the future.

The wider the degree of consensus on a future strategy, the more politically acceptable and implementable it will probably be. I am glad to say that the request for submissions on phase 1 of the study has had an excellent response. Over 120 submissions have been received, about 70 of them from individuals. These submissions will be fully assessed by the steering committee and consultants and arrangements for follow-up on them are being considered.

Phase 2 of the study, which looks to the future, will also have a substantial provision for public participation and I have no doubt will generate great interest. The phase 1 consultants will advise just how this should be done.

Even though I am from the Midlands I know the Dublin area extremely well and I am glad to see the improvements being made to the road network here. I believe many people from the country welcome these improvements especially on the roads out to the airport, etc. This is part of the Government's programme. I want to point out that the Government have been improving the road network over the years. There may be difficulties and perhaps different views on how this work should be done but I think it can be said that the road improvements in the Dublin area will be of great assistance to all our people, especially commuters.

This motion has been put down prematurely. Far be it from me to say anything in regard to the members of the Labour Party but I think they got it wrong this time. Dublin Corporation and the consultants have to look into this matter first. It has been said to the Government and Ministers that they are taking away powers from the corporation. We are not; we are backing the corporation who will have to decide what they want and how they are going to do it. We must improve the system, which is what the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party are going to do.

That was a rousing finale by the Minister. I am glad he has clarified certain points and given some commitments in this area. The contributions of other Senators were interesting, constructive at times and worth hearing.

A number of points were raised by Fianna Fáil Senators. Obviously I cannot refer to all of them but the major point which came through all the time was that it was not appropriate for us to raise this issue in the Seanad. I categorically reject that point. It is entirely appropriate that the whole question of what is being done or what it is proposed to do with Structural Funds and taxpayers money in the Dublin area should be raised in this House. It is appropriate that all of us should be concerned at what is going to happen to the capital city of this country. Therefore, I make no apology for raising this matter in this House, not only in the context of the local authority but also in the context of the Government.

Both the Government and the Department have responsibilities in this area. I want to quote from the National Development Plan in order to show how the Government balance their responsibilities between transport, roads and the rest of the infrastructure.

There are four provisions: improvement of the national roads in the Dublin area and of the non-national roads which contribute to economic development; provision of a peripheral ring road to link main national routes to facilitate long distance traffic; provision of a port access route which will keep heavy traffic from the centre city and improvements in the existing network of public transport services, including the provision of diesel rail commuter services. Three of those four provisions relate to motorways which are road routes.

As regards the money that will come from the EC and taxpayers, there will be £190 million plus £22 million for roads, national and non-national, in the Dublin area; access transport — relating to the port area — £182.75 million and rail and bus, £36 million. That is what I call a balanced distribution of funding from the EC and our taxpayers. It is totally out of order to say that it is not proper or appropriate for us to discuss this matter in the Seanad.

If the proposals regarding the Structural Fund, and the seven regional areas in respect of which proposals were submitted initially, had been allowed to go through according to the European Commission's instructions, community groups would have made their submissions on how the money would be spent much sooner and we might not be at the stage we are at now. The Government disbanded the regional groups at the time they were making their proposals and that is the major reason for the present position. Members have been saying across the floor of the House that the community groups will have an opportunity to become involved but this might not have arisen if those groups had been consulted in advance in the context of the expenditure of the Structural Funds.

I should have said at the beginning that I want to give two minutes of my time to Senator Harte and two minutes to Senator Norris.

Acting Chairman

Is that agreed? Agreed.

My second point relates to the procedures that have been developed by the local authority. The city council have endorsed a plan, and it does not just deal with an access road that the Minister and Senators referred to again and again. Structural Funds have been made available for that purpose. The local authority have now gone a step further and have made proposals not just for the north side of the Liffey, where there was to be an access road to the port, but also for the south side. They have done this out of the blue. It was not in the original draft plan presented to the council but was included in the variation afterwards. They did not have the courage to include it in the first instance.

Having got the draft plan through in January there is now a proposal for an environmental impact study and feasibility study. In the meantime the plan will be put on display for the public who must reply before 8 March. Subsequently, the results of the studies about which we have heard so much will be published but we are expected to put forward our submissions and objections in advance. That is crazy. It is putting the cart before the horse. As I have said, it is contrary to the spirit and the letter of the European Community Environmental Impact Assessment Motorways Regulations, 1988. It is improper for that procedure to be adopted. I would have liked the Minister, or some of the Senators who sit on the city council, to address that point, but they did not.

We are all concerned about the port, and I am particularly concerned about it because I live in the area. I am concerned about employment in the port, access to it, the heavy traffic that passes through it and the inner city community that surrounds it.

Acting Chairman

Will the Senator now give way to another Senator?

Yes. It has been admitted by the port authorities that 50 per cent of the goods landed at the port go to the inner city while another 30 per cent go to the outer environs of Dublin. That means that 80 per cent of the imports end up in Dublin and 20 per cent go outside. Therefore, we are still not solving the problem.

Acting Chairman

Sorry, Senator, I will have to ask you to conclude if you want to share your time with the other Senators.

We need an independent examination of the plan rather than revamping the old plan that was rejected almost 20 years ago.

I cannot say a lot in two minutes but the main point I would like to make is that the Labour Party have a transport policy, despite what other speakers have said. It is necessary to point out that when there is an agreed programme, as has been devised by the Coalition, it can only include certain objectives. We were not able to persuade any of the parties with whom we were in power, including the minority Fianna Fáil Government we supported in 1932, to accept all our views. That is why we have not been able to do anything about many of the objectives we have in mind.

The second point I would like to make is that a bright young man like Senator Eoin Ryan should know well that a party with an ideology must have policies. They cannot afford the luxury of being pragmatic in the same way as are the major parties. That is something that should be borne in mind. As far as we can see, consideration is being given to many road improvements. With access to the western by-pass — this could be developed to lead onto the Dublin-Belfast road and the Dublin-Rosslare road — the whole question of a feasibility study may not be necessary. One of the dangers of building motorways close to the inner city is that at the intersections hypermarkets and so on will be built, and the inner city will be affected. Therefore, social planning has to be taken into account. We cannot plan a road without also planning socially. I am sorry I have not the time to develop this argument. Perhaps we should have worded this motion better, but our main concern is the spending of money on consultants' fees. I do not want to be cynical about consultants. I have had experience of them down the years. They recommend one thing and then tell you how to get rid of it five years later.

Acting Chairman

I would ask the Senator to conclude.

We do not think £300,000 should be spent on a feasibility study because there are many other considerations to be taken into account.

I am grateful to Senator Costello for giving me this small amount of time. With other representatives from this House I attended a series of meetings organised by Senator Costello, principally in the north Dublin area, at which the views of the residents were made perfectly plain. They were unambiguously opposed to this development. At the heart of this matter is a feeling about democracy. It has been well said that what we have here is a classic three card trick. The people of Dublin are offered three options: a motorway, a motorway or a motorway. This was voted down ten years ago by Dublin City Council and reinserted under a new name, that is all. We get the figleaf of a different description.

It is not even clear to me what the impact of this by-pass would be. It was suggested that it would take the heavy traffic away from the port but the Dublin Port and Docks Board, through their consultants, discovered that only 7.4 per cent of the traffic generated by this new road would be traffic from the port and the rest would be largely commuter traffic. What we are doing is once again making the mistake that all the European cities have made, developing a road infrastructure that will have the effect of complicating road traffic in the city, and that is regrettable. If we want to see what the impact will be we should have a look at the corner of Summerhill and Gardiner Street. Despite an improvement scheme for the area financed by European Structural Funds it is still an absolute eyesore and a disaster. There is not one reasonably decent building in sight, which is a pity. Sandymount Strand, with its echoes of James Joyce in literary terms, will be destroyed. The Williamstown salt marsh, an internationally known and valued bird reservation will also be destroyed. By and large, the impact of this will be major and negative.

It is an interesting comment on the democratic process that the road plans will be exhibited until 8 March but that the environmental impact study will not be completed until July. That seems to be an extraordinary order in which to place them. It is perfectly clear that this is being rammed through by the road engineers. It is highly significant that although it is a considerable amendment to the development plan it did not go through the planning committee but through the general committee and was steered through by the road engineers.

Question put and declared lost.