Works on daa’s North Runway project began in December 2016. The current works include the clearance of lands on which the new runway will be built, earthworks and road realignment and construction.
As part of this work it is necessary to remove trees and hedgerows in preparation for the new runway as the area in question must be clear of all obstacles that could pose a risk to aviation. The trees and hedges would also pose an aviation security hazard by restricting visibility along the secure airfield perimeter fence once the new runway is built. Therefore, in order to comply with European aviation regulation, safety and security requirements and current best practice, it is necessary to remove them.
Before we started any works a number of ecological surveys were undertaken as per the planning conditions and all necessary measures were taken to protect all species that were noted during these surveys.
We are conscious that large infrastructure projects of the scale of North Runway involve much change and can appear to have a dramatic, and sometimes sudden, visual impact on the landscape. While the area of the current works may look unkempt at present due to the land clearance and other works, they will quickly take shape as road construction progresses and various earthworks are completed, with verges and banks being dressed and landscaped. This current package of works is intended to be completed in August 2017, weather permitting.
The original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and planning appeals process for North Runway were very extensive and ultimately noted that the mitigation measures proposed by daa or applied by the planning authorities would ensure that the environmental impact of the project would be minimised. To offset the works relating to hedgerows and trees, daa is providing eight hectares (almost 20 acres) of compensatory habitat at an off-site location. The design of the compensatory habitat will reflect as far as possible that of the existing site and include a range of habitats to compensate for the necessary loss at the North Runway footprint. daa has also committed to sponsoring a study into the condition of hedgerows in Fingal, and to providing a contribution towards the restoration of the historic formal gardens in the Ward River Valley Regional Park.