January 9, 2018
Paul Mulville, Social Democrats councillor for the Swords local electoral area, has highlighted the need for Rogerstown Estuary to be protected.
Cllr. Mulville stated, “The 2010 – 2015 Environmental Protection Agency Water Quality in Ireland report published last August, highlighted issues at Rogerstown Estuary, which is a Natura 2000 International site, being both a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). The EPA report states (page 42) that across the country intertidal seagrass is generally ‘in good condition, apart from Rogerstown estuary, where persistent eutrophication has driven excessive algal growths causing the smothering and subsequent loss of intertidal seagrass beds.’”
Councillor Mulville further stated: “I raised this matter with Fingal County Council, in particular asking that what role, if any, the council has in investigating the source of the eutrophication at Rogerstown, and also what enforcement powers the council has to deal with the problem.”
“The Council’s Environment Department responded to confirm that Fingal County Council has a lead role in the investigation of water pollution in all surface and ground waters within its administrative area including rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters. The Environment Department stated that the Water Framework Directive is the primary piece of legislation that bestows investigative and protective powers to Local Authorities through the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plan (2018 -2021). It was further outlined to me that the Directive aims to protect/enhance all surface, ground and coastal waters, achieve “good status” for waters by December 2021 for a number of rivers, and manage water bodies based on river basin management plans.”
“The Environment Department further stated that the eutrophication of Rogerstown Estuary is most likely as a result of nutrient enrichment from diffuse agricultural pollution sources from the Ballyboughal River, Ballough River and Corduff River catchments that flow into the transitional waters of Rogerstown Estuary. They also state that Balleally Landfill is not considered to add significant nutrients to the Estuary due to infrastructural enhancements through specified engineering works that have been completed in recent years.
“The Environment Department concluded their reply to me by saying that Fingal County Council participated in a Midlands and Eastern Region Catchment Assessment Workshop to priorities areas for additional investigative assessment and proposed Rogerstown Estuary as a recommended area for action to include assessment of the headwaters of the Estuary. They stated also that progress has already been made by Irish Water including sewer improvement works in Turvey and the installation of reed bed systems. Finally the Environment Department also say that the Water Pollution Control team have also carried out extensive monitoring of the Estuary headwaters which will be important data in assigning resources to tackle the pollution issues.”
“It is of the utmost importance that the council and all relevant authorities continue to work hard to ensure the protection of Rogerstown Estuary, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and which is of international importance in terms of its flora and fauna.