Forest Friends Ireland comment on Dublin 

planning proposal

Forest Friends Ireland submitted an observation to Dublin City Council on a proposed development at 198 - 202 Clonliffe Road in Dublin expressing their concern at the impact of this development on the biodiversity of this area of North Dublin, and in particular the destruction of several mature trees on the site.

Below is the text of the submission by FFI. You can follow decisions on this development at the Dublin City Council Planning Department web site here ....

To the Executive Manager, Planning Department, Dublin City Council, Block 4, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

 RE planning 2049/17 194-202 Clonliffe Road

Forest Friends Ireland is very concerned about the above proposal which we believe is contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, for the following reasons:

Firstly, Clonliffe Road has in spite of inappropriate developments in many other roads  in the North Inner City has retained its character which demonstrates positivity in terms of streetscape, landscape, ecology, biodiversity, the retention of family residences, care of front gardens.

This is in spite of the detrimental ecological footprint of Croke Park and the Mater Hospital which have sterilised huge areas from an environmental point of view. The proposed development would constitute a serious setback to the planning and sustainable development of the area.

Secondly: Although it is desirable that this derelict site would be restored, it is inappropriate that it would be with this type of development. This site has been in a derelict condition for a long time and Forest Friends are at a loss to know why the derelict sites act was not used to force the owners to restore it to a non-derelict condition.

We are of the opinion that the development proposed would be more appropriate elsewhere along roads where such development has already been established.

Thirdly: The type of development would establish an inappropriate precedent.

Fourthly: it would seriously lead to serious devaluation of residential properties in the area.

Fifthly: what is proposed here is the wholesale environmental destruction of mature trees, related biodiversity and quite a unique ecology compared with the serious deterioration of environment which exists on the city side of Clonliffe Road. 

Research carried out by Professor T.M. Das of the University of Calcutta concluded that a mature tree is worth in the region of $200,000. Given that there are thirty mature trees on this site, their value can be calculated as in the region of six million dollars.

It would be expected that if a precedent for felling of these important trees ecologically is established that pressure would be brought to bear for the felling of trees adjoining this site, the number of which are significant.

Research carried out by Forest Friends Ireland and collaborated by the City Council’s own biodiversity plan for Dublin City has shown that there is a serious deficiency of biodiversity in the north inner city areas \adjoining and in the vicinity of   Clonliffe Road.

The inner city areas are seriously deficient from the point of view of environment generally, investment, enterprise, landscape, streetscape. The inner city areas are generally bereft of the kind of biodiversity demonstrated in the site of the present application.

Sixthly: Forest Friends are of the opinion that the proper planning and development of this site would most  likely be best served by using the existing footprint of existing buildings rather than causing serious ecological and environment destruction in the site.

Seventh: Given all the considerations mentioned above a totally different approach is necessitated due to the special ecological characteristics of this site.

Other points relevant to the proper planning and development of the area-not directly related to the current planning application;

Forest Friends are of the opinion that consideration be seriously given to the possibility of acquiring the lands owned by the St. Lawrence’s trust at the rear and along the Tolka River and laying it out as a park to be enjoyed by residents of the area.

The dearth of such facilities on the inner city side of Clonliffe Road particularly suggests the need for a meaningful gesture to remedy the serious ecological and environmental deficiencies and to enable more sustainable communities to exist. The inner city areas demonstrate to varying degrees multiple layers of deprivation, sociologically, educationally, environmentally and economically.

Huge investments and positive discrimination are needed under all the headings. The totally negative ecological footprints of Croke Park and the mater Hospital would seem to suggest that steps should be taken to mitigate their effects.

These have left the areas largely bereft of biodiversity in their vicinities. Forest Friends have created two gardens, an ecological organic garden at the rear of the Arts and business Campus 40 Lower Drumcondra Road and a biodiversity/healing garden at the rear of the clinic at 400 North Circular Road, adjoining the Mater Hospital.

In both gardens there is virtually no biodiversity in terms of song birds, and flora and fauna generally other than the plants which Forest Friends have planted. Pollinators are virtually not to be found also.

John Haughton

Town Planner and Sociologist 

Chairman and Honorary President

Forest Friends Ireland 40 Lower Drumcondra Road Dublin 9.