Proposed construction of 2.8km wall abandoned at Doonbeg Golf Course

7th December 2016
Press Release

An Taisce welcomes the news that plans for construction of a 2.8km coastal wall at Doonbeg, Co. Clare have been abandoned.

At a public consultation on Tuesday 6th December, regarding the coastal defences in the area, new plans revealed that proposed development of the 2.8km wall had been replaced by alternative ideas.

The revelation marks a huge milestone and the culmination of the efforts of An Taisce, Friends of the Irish Environment, Save the Waves and a number of individuals who recognised the detrimental effect it would have on the landscape.

In June (2016) An Taisce made their submission to Clare County Council regarding the planning application by TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd. for a development comprising coastal erosion management works at and adjacent to Carrowmore Dunes, White Strand, Doughmore Bay and Trump International Golf Links and Hotel, Doonbeg. This submission was made on the grounds that the proposal would be detrimental to the coastal habitat. The proposed wall would have potentially destroyed the sand dune system and blighted one of the most stunning stretches of coast in the country. [Note 1]

The Carrowmore Dunes ( Doonbeg) are a protected habitat, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under Natura 2000, which provide a safe haven for some rare species in Ireland. The dunes are a naturally dynamic system which retreat and advance in response to erosion and have adapted over millennia, but are already being prevented from retreating due to the inappropriate siting of the golf course. The construction of a wall would have starved the dunes of the sand vital for their survival.

Fixed dune systems are one of the most threatened dune habitats in Europe largely due to coastal development and protection works. According to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the construction of physical barriers such as sea defences can interrupt longshore drift, leading to beach starvation and increased rates of erosion. [Note 2] Interfering with natural processes, such as beach-dune dynamics can, and largely do, lead to more issues. Short-term success can occur at a local level but adverse impacts can also affect adjacent areas. The continuous coastal defence construction which has now been abandoned, would have dramatically affected the landscape with essentially irreversible effects and the potential to affect other adjacent habitats including wetlands. [Note 3]

Fintan Kelly, An Taisce’s Natural Heritage Officer stated;

The conservation of sand dunes in the Netherlands, USA and UK have proven themselves to be more cost effective than hard coastal protection works and are supplying valued biodiversity and ecosystem services to local communities”.

He added,

A holistic approach to the management of our coastline must be taken if they are to remain resilient to climate change.”

While the abandonment of the proposed wall marks a positive outcome, further proposed plans for the area should be treated with caution. Revised proposals, due to be submitted shortly, are said to possibly include sheet metal piling and rock armour for 650 metres at one end and 200 metres at the other end of the dune system and also the relocation of two holes of the golf course. Notwithstanding other remaining aspects of the proposed plans, these revised proposals still have the potential to negatively affect the area and therefore should still be subject to the same scrutiny and consideration.

ENDS

Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce. Tel: +353 1 707 7063
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Notes

[1] An Taisce’s submission to Clare County Council: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxEVOTzgFnKEX1dWemhjdmJFQjg/view?usp=sharing
[2] National Parks and Wildlife Service (2014) Carrowmore Dunes SAC (site code 2250) Conservation objectives supporting document - Coastal Habitats https://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/002250%20Carrowmore%20Dunes%20SAC%20Coastal%20Supporting%20Doc%20V1.pdf
[3] - Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) (2000) Beach Dunes: A Guide to Managing Coastal Erosion in Beach/Dune Systems, [online]. Available at: http://www.snh.gov.uk/publications-data-and-research/publications/searchthe-catalogue/publication-detail/?id=112 [accessed: 02/06/2016A]

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.