2 Sep 2007

EU threatens huge fines if Tara M3 work is not halted

Had this from Tara watch, I don't know the implications but I am hoping it stops the motorway through this important prehistoric monument.

From: TaraWatch
To: hilloftara@yahoogroups.com ; taralitigation@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 1:19 PM
Subject: [TaraWatch] EU threatens huge fines if Tara M3 work is not halted

EU threatens huge fines if Tara M3 work is not halted

Irish Independent
Thursday August 30 2007

WORK on the controversial section of the M3 near the Hill of Tara must
now stop.

And the Government now faces the prospect of being hit with millions of
euro in fines if it allows construction to proceed.

The Irish Independent has learned that the EU Commission has told the
Goverment that no work can be carried out near the national monument
discovered at Lismullin, Co Meath.

And it has ordered that a comprehensive assessment of what impact the
road will have on the Tara Skryne Valley be carried out before the road
is built.

The warning came as a legal challenge was launched yesterday aimed at
stopping the proposed motorway.

Michael Canney from the Campaign to Save Tara group issued legal
proceedings against the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for
Transport, the National Roads Authority and Eurolink Ltd, the
consortium awarded the construction and tolling contract.

The case centres on how the route of the motorway was chosen and Mr
Canney alleges that a comprehensive assessment of each route was not
carried out in line with EU law before the 'preferred' route was

And the Irish Independent can reveal that the EU Commission has warned
the Government that Ireland is in breach of EU law by not carrying out
a second investigation after the discovery of a national monument along
the route.

Former Environment Minister Dick Roche, in one of his last acts in
office, issued a direction that the Lismullin monument be excavated
before the road is built over it.

But a spokesperson for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said
yesterday that Ireland was in breach of EU law by not carrying out a
second Environmental Impact Assessment after the monument was

"At the moment we are still talking to the Irish authorities," the
spokesperson said. "We want a second assessment. The road cannot be
built until the second assessment is done.

"We have a legal disagreement with Ireland. We are saying you have now
uncovered this national monument, and you cannot proceed until there is
a second assessment."

In a separate development Michael Canney is seeking a court ruling that
construction works on the motorway should be halted pending the outcome
of the case currently being taken by the EU Commission.

The case is the first of three threatened legal challenges to the ?800m
motorway planned to help ease congestion on the Dublin to Meath route.

Yesterday Mr Canney said it was being taken as a 'last resort' and
because the 'political and commercial backers' of the project had
ignored public concerns about the road.

"It has never been my ambition to put my name forward in a legal
challenge, especially a challenge against such a seemingly impregnable
array of powerful political and economic forces," he said.

"I have only done so as a last resort, and only because it is
absolutely essential that the silent majority who oppose this road have
their concerns heard."

2+1 adds up to a different road

Thursday August 30 2007

TRANSPORT planners in Co Meath have unveiled proposals for a rail link
from Dublin to Navan, and a '2 + 1' road, instead of the controversial
M3 motorway.

The plan would also see the creation of a Meath World Heritage Park in
the Tara Skryne Valley and lead to savings of ?300m for the taxpayer,
as well as safeguarding archeological remains in the area.

Brian Guckian and Tadhg Crowley said yesterday their plans would solve
the transport issues for commuters "in the long term" and protect the
heritage of the area, without having to reroute the M3.

They also believe that up to ?300m could be saved, which could be used
to buy-out the contract to toll the road, saving commuters hundreds of
euro every year.

The most radical element of the proposal is for a 2+1 road to be built
, instead of a motorway, near the Hill of Tara.

These are roads, pioneered in Sweden, where motorists have two lanes of
traffic going in one direction, and one lane in the opposite direction,
alternating every two kilometres.

This means that drivers are afforded the opportunity to overtake in
safely every 2km.

The introduction of the 2+1 roads in Sweden significantly decreased
road deaths and, although the National Roads Authority has built a
number of these roads here, it recently announced it was abandoning
them in favour of dual carriageways as these could be built at a
slightly increased cost.

The Meath Master (Model archeological and Sustainable Economic Region)
Plan calls for the M3 to be built as a motorway to Roestown, north of
Dunshaughlin, which would change to a 2+1 on the existing N3, and
bypass Navan and on to Kells.

No re-routing of the M3 would be required, and traffic volumes would be
cut by at least one-third, while a rail link would be re-opened to
Navan and Kells.

Heavy goods vehicles would be banned from the area and there would be
subsidised rail use for commuters.

Each train could lead to 500 cars a day being removed from the busy
road network, and the cost of building the 2+1 road and rail network to
Navan and Kells would be ?1.2bn.

The Heritage Park would reconstruct archeological sites and include
heritage trails and interpretative centres, and there would be five
main settlements of Navan, Kells, Trim, Dunshaughlin and Slane.

Heritage stations would be built using model green building practices,
and connect networks of heritage trails and provide interpretation
centres, bike rental facilities, accommodation and restaurants.

Only small eco-friendly developments would be allowed in the area.The
promoters of the plan said yesterday it would be a model of sustainable
economic development, which would help develop heritage and tourist
activity. They hope to gain support from all political parties.

M3 alternative unveiled as new court bid begins

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