Public pressure is needed to avoid further Boyne Greenway delays, says campaigners

— Planning application for Drogheda to Navan section of route delayed until Q4 2024.

Campaigners for the Boyne Greenway say that they welcome any progress, but that it is now 13 years on from when plans were first proposed and that pressure from the public is needed to deliver the project.

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Meath County Council’s Active Travel office told campaigners with the Navan Cycling Initiative that the preferred route for the section west of Drogheda at the county border to Navan is expected to be announced in Q4 2023.

Tomorrow the Navan Cycling Initiative and Drogheda Cycling Campaign are teaming up to organise a leisurely cycle along the Boyne Greenway at Drogheda, across the border of Meath and Louth, this Sunday, August 27 from 11am at Saint Dominic’s Car Park Linenhall Street Drogheda. It is free but registration is required via eventbrite.com.

A spokesperson for Meath County Council’s Active Travel team said: “As you know work has been ongoing for a considerable time on finalising the preferred option for the Boyne Greenway and Navigation Scheme. The announcement of a preferred option has been delayed and further work and consultations with stakeholders are being undertaken to inform the decision making process. This further work is principally concerned with more accurately defining the significance of flooding risk and this work is now largely completed.”

“There are a number of other tasks to undertake but we anticipate that the preferred option will be announced in Q4 2023,” the council’s Active Travel team said.

They added: “Following this announcement there will be engagement with the public and then the preliminary design and environmental studies/reports for the preferred option will be developed with a view to bringing an application forward for statutory planning approval in late 2024”

Ed Moynihan, chairperson of the Navan Cycling Initiative, said: “Navan Cycling Initiative were happy to receive a firm date for the announcement of the second public consultation for the Boyne Greenway, outlining the preferred route that will run from Drogheda to Navan, and we look forward to seeing the details and engaging with the consultation process.”

“It has been a long wait, as the first public consultation for the scheme stated the preferred route stage would be announced in Q2 2021. As it stands now, a Q4 2023 announcement means that it will be a two-and-a-half-year delay in total. We know it’s a delicate process as the route passes through numerous heritage sites and SACs, but there is a lot of frustration and confusion from people on the delays with it,” said Moynihan.

He said: “Plans for this greenway go back as far as 2010, when Meath County Council first carried out a feasibility study for developing a greenway from Drogheda to Trim. It’s hard to imagine that here we are, 13 years later, and we’re still no closer to seeing it being realised.”

The campaign said that it should be remembered that this current scheme is just a 27km section of the 52km total.

“We have yet to see any discussion or planning work on the remaining section to Trim and onto the Royal Canal Greenway, even though it features in both the new GDA Transport Strategy and the TII National Cycle Network,” Moynihan said.

He added: “We’ve seen a huge boom in greenways all around the country in recent years, and we firmly believe the Boyne Greenway can be the jewel in the crown of Irish greenways. It has the potential to truly open up the wonders of the Boyne Valley and be transformative for the entire region. We need all our local elected officials to keep the pressure on to deliver this vital project, and hope to finally see real progress made on it over the coming months.”

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