Poolbeg housing site ‘would incur costs’

Plans to fast-track the building of thousands of homes on Dublin’s Poolbeg West peninsula will likely entail significant costs in making good the high-risk contaminated lands, one of the country’s leading environmental experts has said.

The Government, Nama, and Dublin City Council have hailed the potential economies of scale in developing the lands as key to solving the national housing crisis.

Much of the 84 acres has been earmarked for housing, under a strategic development zone.

However, Paul Johnston, adjunct professor of environmental engineering at TCD, said identifying potential risks by drilling boreholes and making good the contaminated lands will likely be far more complex and entail more costs than cleaning up contaminated sites at Haulbowline in Cork and the remediated extensive Lagan gas works site in Belfast.

“The costs of the investigation and remediation of this site [Poolbeg West] have not been factored in and it doesn’t appear to be well understood what level of remediation is going to be required,” said Prof Johnston.

It will likely be costly to investigate the large range of industrial and municipal waste dumped on Poolbeg.

“The problem we have in Ireland is we have no mechanism for dealing with hazardous waste materials, so nearly all has to be exported or somehow isolated,” said Prof Johnson.

A report under a strategic environmental assessment by Dublin City Council published earlier this year says it had provided a review “of available documentation on contamination, a conceptual site model for the area of the planning scheme and a highlevel qualitative risk assessment to establish low, medium and high-risk areas”.


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