Howth Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres which are owned, managed and maintained by my Department under Statute.
Siltation at Howth FHC is recognised as an issue that will require attention and preparation work for a possible dredging project has been underway for some time. A report from site investigation works, which was commissioned in 2015, was received by my Department in March 2016. The report included vital information on the nature of the material to be dredged in any future dredging project. The information revealed from the Site Investigation Report indicated that some of the dredge material would not be suitable for conventional disposal at sea, which would add to the overall cost of a project.
In June 2016, a firm of consulting engineers were engaged to prepare a report to include scoping the project, various disposal options for the dredged material at Howth and permitting requirements. Following receipt of the consulting engineers report in late October 2017, my Department’s Engineers met with Fingal County Council, to review possible operational and permitting requirements. In addition, a further meeting was held between Department Engineers and the consulting engineers on 5 December 2017 to consider all disposal options and implications.
I wish to reaffirm my Department’s commitment to progressing the dredging project for Howth Harbour and the €100,000 allocated in this year's capital programme is for further detailed studies, including scoping, shore based re-use of dredge material and land-use layout options. This is a complex undertaking and the planning, tendering and contract award phase of this project could take at least two years. A variety of factors will impact on the final cost of a potential dredging project including the disposal options, overall scale of the project, and market factors. At this point no overall estimation of cost has been established. While the final scope and costs remain to be set, it is likely that the overall cost will exceed €20M and therefore a cost benefit analysis will also be required.
The project will require Planning Permission, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a Waste License. The Department went to tender on 3 October 2018 for a Consulting Engineering practice to bring the project through the planning, environmental permitting and design phase. The tenders have been adjudicated and it is expected to announce the successful bidder in early December.
As is the case for all developments in the six Fishery Harbour Centres, any future decision with regard to initiating a full dredging works project in Howth will only be considered on the basis of available exchequer funding and competing national priorities.