Archive for the ‘Compulsory Purchase Orders’ Category

Consultant – road schemes put animals before people

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Limerick Leader

A representative for more than 20 individuals affected by the M20  Limerick to Cork motorway and the N21 Adare Bypass claims that  “woolly and feathered friends and otters are too well protected” in terms of the road schemes “while the human species is largely ignored”.

And in relation to one family affected by the proposed Adare bypass, he says that if they were bats, mitigation measures such as new bat houses would  be provided for  them.

Richard Rea of the Rea Group, accountants and agricultural consultants in Tipperary was speaking at the oral hearing held by An Bord Pleanala in respect of the
proposed M20/N21 in the Charleville Park Hotel.  In his submission he criticised the lack of support for families and individuals along the proposed road routes, highlighting how many won’t receive compensation for the inconvenience caused to
them during and after the construction phase.

In relation to the case of the Smyth family of Castleroberts, Adare,  the law dictates that no compensation is payable. Bryan and Maeve Smyth and their two young  aughters aged 6 and 10  moved from Raheen to Castleroberts and received the keys  to their new home on April 2, 2009 – the day the four potential routes for the Adare
bypass  were announced. Maeve suffers with  Rheumatoid Arthritis and had been advised that a country location  would be beneficial to her health. “We are not landowners. We are the nearest house to the road but we are not landowners. If you are not a landowner, you are not entitled to any compensation. We own  the house but the road isn’t going through the fields. “The road is  going through the fields next  to us.  We get nothing, only dirt, noise and debris – they won’t even clean our  windows. As a non landowner you are entitled to absolutely nothing,” explained Mr.
Smyth.

According to Mr. Rea, these shortcomings in the law are hugely unfair to families like  the  Smyths.  “When we established  four independence, to a large extent we took down the Union Jack and replaced it with the tricolour – but have largely retained he
worst aspects of the British system in relation to compensation. “At least the British have changed the law – so that cases like the Smyths’ would be properly dealt with in the UK”, said Mr. Rea.

Taking account of these shortcomings, he said that the only alternative and fair way
to deal with the Smyths   during construction is to relocate the family during the  excavation works at this location and provide security on the residence as appropriate.

“If Mr. and Mrs. Smyth were bats mitigation measures such as new bat houses or
temporary bat houses  would be provided”, said Mr. Rea. According to Mr. Smyth in their case, most of the experts have  assessed the impact on their house from a visual
perspective as  being “profound” for the first 15 years and “significant” thereafter.10

“Were a similar assessment made in the UK then compensation would be payable even if you weren’t a landowner”, said Mr. Smyth.

Mr. Rea, who has experience of working on other road schemes has called for the  inal build to be as per EIS drawings as submitted and as approved by An Bord Pleanala  with no deviations whatsoever except with written agreement with the affected property owners and the impacted public.

“The people affected by any change should have the benefit of independent advice
paid for by the contractor”, he said.  With respect to his earlier comment at the oral  earing that the process is “corrupt” – he  said that any system that is weighed so  heavily in favour of the developer and excludes the opportunity for the affected public to professionally present their case “I have to submit, is corrupt and contrary to the principles of European Union Law and natural justice”.

“I consider it wrong that Sweetman’s [environmentalist Peter Sweetman] woolly and feathered friends and otters are protected while the human species is largely  ignored,” he  added. During the oral hearing Eileen McCarthy, a chartered engineer and an associate of Arup Consulting Engineers who presented a presentation on the M20 motorway scheme  said that the need for the proposed €850 million road development which includes the bypassing of Charleville is justified by the fact
that the motorway scheme will result in the saving of an estimated 70 lives over the 30 years from the year of opening.

The meeting heard that the average journey time from Blarney to Attyflin near Patrickswell which is  currently approximately 61 minutes would be reduced to 44  minutes if  the road development were in place. Meanwhile, the chosen “blue route” for  the Adare bypass is the  longest and furthest away  from the village of Adare of  the four possible routes, and was described in a report published last summer as
the least value for money. However, the route was recommended, as it is the cheapest option.

Irish Farmers Journal: Bypassing a farmer

Tuesday, May 27th, 2003

Irish Farmers Journal

By Mairead Lavery

It’s almost two years since we reported on young dairy farmer Donal Norris from Fiddown in Co. Kilkenny. At the time, the Piltown/Fiddown bypass was under construction and Donal was having difficulties with Kilkenny County Council over access to land, drainage and safety features of the new road. He was worried about the safety of his children and feared the new road would make his farm unworkable. Unfortunately his fears have come true.

Agreement ‘being ignored’

Last December the IFA agreed a new compensation package for landowners affected by Compulsory Purchase Orders for road-building schemes under the National Development Plan. Compensation for land is to be based on equivalent values for a similar piece of land in the same area. In addition, a per acre good-will payment will be available to landowners who co-operate fully with new road plans. Time frames for different notices, responses and payments were also agreed.

A letter from Michael Egan of the NRA dated January 7, 2001 says that all agricultural land under Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) where compensation had not been determined by December 10, 2001, comes under the new IFA deal. The letter, which was circulated to county and city managers, adds that the deal also applies to landowners who are considering offers of compensation as well as landowners whose cases have been referred to arbitration.

This position was confirmed by Minister for the Environment, Noel Dempsey, in a written reply to Dail questions on the on the April 17, 2001.In it he said the NRA and local authorities would seek to facilitate landowners who chose to rely on the agreement.

However, Kilkenny County Council does not appear to be following this line. At a meeting of the council in late March, Donal Norris’s decision to withdraw from arbitration and seek compensation under the new agreement was greeted with scorn. The following comments of County Manager PJ Donnelly were reported in the Kilkenny People on March 29: ‘‘Now there is a request to go back to the IFA loop, and if this does not satisfy Mr Norris, as five previous agreements did not satisfy him, will we go back to arbitration again. It’s time they all saw sense and let this matter go for arbitration.’’

The IFA has confirmed that Donal Norris is entitled to come in under the new deal. However, Donal Norris maintains that as late as May 9 the council was insisting that he is not entitled to the terms of the new deal and must remain in arbitration.

On the 19th of March this year Donal Norris started to drive his 44 dairy cows on the new Fidown/Piltown bypass. He had to do it as they were out of grass on the 19 acres surrounding the yard. ‘‘I had no choice.

The cows were hungry and needed fresh grass. Most of our land is now on the other side of the new road. Before the bypass was built, getting to that grass was a simple matter of driving the cows less than a quarter of a mile along a small local road. Now the distance is 1.2 miles — across a very fast and busy road,’’ said Donal.

He had the same difficulty last October when the local road used by his family for generations to access the rest of the farm was first closed. Donal was not allowed to drive his cows through the narrow tunnel provided for cars. Furthermore, council officials told him that if he did use it, he would be fined €1,000 per day.

On the intervention of Michael Egan of the NRA, he was given temporary permission to use the tunnel. This was to apply until the council completed internal roadways through adjoining land to reach the rest of the farm. In early November a cow seriously injured herself in the tunnel and had to be put down. On veterinary advice, Donal stopped using it. Seven months later there’s still no sign of the internal roadways.

Last week 200 neighbours and friends staged a peaceful protest in support of Donal and his family. About 50 vehicles, including lorries and tractors, were driven slowly along the hard shoulders without causing disruption to traffic.

Donal has now decided to dry off 25 per cent of his dairy herd. ‘‘The strain is just too much. It takes 14 of my neighbours to herd the animals twice a day. I can’t keep asking them to do this. They have been so good to us, and I want to thank them for all their help and support. If the internal roadways are not put in within two weeks, I have no choice but to dry off another 25 per cent of the herd,’’ he said.

‘‘I feel singled out by the council. They just seem to want to get their way. I want to know who the real decision maker is because all I want is equal treatment,’’ he said.

Council statements criticised

Richard Rea of Martin and Rea Consultants in Agriculture and Business says statements about the Donal Norris case made at a recent meeting of Kilkenny County Council are not acceptable.

‘‘I want to reject two points made by the county council. The council claims that five agreements it put forward were turned down by Donal Norris.There were no agreements brokered with Mr Norris, and to claim anything other than this is totally wrong and not in accordance with the facts. I wrote to Kilkenny County Council on the 28th of March requesting details of these supposed agreements and the dates when Donal Norris rejected them. To date the council has not been able to back up its claims,’’ said Richard Rea.

He also rejects the council’s criticism about the way it is being portrayed since Donal Norris started to drive his cows on the bypass.

‘‘The truth hurts. It is a matter of fact that the cows were on the road. Donal Norris had no other choice. Kilkenny County Council has provided roadways of adequate width and length for other affected landowners. In fact, on the farm that Donal Norris has leased, the roadway provided is perfectly adequate. However, on the Norris home farm this is not the case. For some extraordinary reason, the roadway proposed here is both inadequate in length and width,’’ said Richard.

He said this was a critical matter for Donal Norris because the public roadway used by his family for generations is now closed off, and he must have an adequate alternative to reach the rest of his farm.

‘‘All Donal Norris wants is equal treatment. He wants the same as was given to other landowners. Because this was not done, he was left with no choice but to drive his cows on the new road or else cease to be a dairy farmer.’’

On November 8, 2001, a compromise solution was put forward.

This solution proposed that the County Council should provide the roadway and, if the arbitrator decided it was more than Donal Norris was entitled to, this would be taken into account in his final assessment for compensation. The council and the NRA rejected this proposal last week.