A Loughs Agency report on a proposed new storm water pipe from the Ebrington site into the River Foyle does not envisage the development will have a negative environmental impact but warns care must be taken during the construction phase.
Ilex plans to build a 1.2m diameter outfall pipe from the existing storm system within the site.
According to an application lodged with the local planning office “the outfall will cross the Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) track and outfall into the Foyle above the high water mark.”
A new report by Declan Lawlor, from the Loughs Agency, suggests the new works won’t damage the special River and Lough Foyle special protection areas.
It states: “The construction of a new outfall pipe and headwall structure should not negatively impact the site selection features of the River Foyle and Tributaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC) if the developer adheres to the regulations in accordance with environmental best practice and resource sustainability.”
The report adds: “It is not anticipated that the construction of a new outfall pipe and headwall structure will have any detrimental effects on the River Foyle and Tributaries SAC.”
But it goes on to warn that the site may become compromised if best environmental practice isn’t followed during the construction phase.
“However, the failure to undertake the operation phase of the proposed works in accordance with best environmental practice and without due care, could result in the site integrity being compromised,” the Loughs Agency report states.
Ilex has submitted a marine licence application outlining the proposals to the Department of the Environment (DoE). The works were scheduled to take place between July 28 and August 8, although the new technical specifications were only submitted on August 13.
The risks cited that could potentially arise from the development were “degradation of water quality due to increased suspended solids” and the “subsequent impact on Atlantic salmon.”
But it is deemed “unlikely that any changes to the Natura 2000 sites will result from the construction of the headwall and pipework at Ebrington.
“The site is some eight kilmoetres downstream from the nearest Natura 200 site. No impact on species habitat is envisaged and any increases in suspended solids during the construction phase will be temporary and minimal in a wide stretch of the watercourse.”